11 Sep U20s look to continuous improvement in AFC tourney
[September 11, 2022 – Harmon, Guam] After nearly three years without international tournament play, the Guam U20 National Team has identified areas to build on after a 3-0 loss to Laos on opening day of the AFC U20 Asian Cup Uzbekistan 2023™ Qualifiers in Vientiane.
“Credit to the Laos team – they’re riding on a wave of success with wins in regional tournaments against their rivals and have made significant improvements coming into this tournament,” said Dominic Gadia, Guam U20 Head Coach. “Our players see the higher level of play now and know this is where they want to be. We’ll continue to work on addressing performance gaps with the objective to get better with each match, especially with opponents from higher pots in the draw coming up. We just keep moving from here.”
Guam’s team arrived in Laos Wednesday evening with two days to prepare for the opening match. Thirteen players from Guam met with seven players based in the United States to complete the team.
Of the starting players, four made their debut for Guam in an AFC tournament: Levi Buckwalter, Ka’eo Gonsalves, Shuntaro Suzuki, and Elija Ochoa. Two additional players coming into the match as substitutes – Nathaniel Mortera and Kekoa Kukahiko – also made their debut.
Anantaza Siphongphan and Chanthavixay Khounthoumphone each scored one goal for the host country in the first half and Athit Louanglath added one in the 88th minute for the final 3-0 score.
Guam will next play Palestine at 4 p.m. Laos time Sept. 12, followed by Laos’ match against Japan at 7 p.m. Laos time.
Palestine settled for a 2-2 draw with Yemen in a match also played on opening day.
Guam will play Japan on Sept. 14 and will complete its bid in the qualification round with a match against Yemen on Sept. 16.
All matches will be played at the KM16 Laos National Stadium.
Guam’s starting players pose for a group photo ahead of its match against Laos on opening day of the AFC U20 Asian Cup Uzbekistan 2023™ Qualifiers Saturday at the KM16 Laos National Stadium in Vientiane. Laos won 3-0. In the photo are, front row from left to right: Eduardo Pedemonte, Jr., Ka’eo Gonsalves, Kai Pahl, Bryan Nakamine, and Elijah Ochoa. In the back row, from left to right, are: Levi Buckwalter, Miles Ganeb, Morgan McKenna, James Gomez, Kevin Gatdula, and Shuntaro Suzuki.