GUAM FOOTBALL ASSOCIATION

Strategy, 'playing with heart' highlighted in Guam's 3-2 win

[March 30, 2019 - Hong Kong] Lessons learned from Match Day 1 combined with coaching strategy and a renewed focus on playing with heart contributed to Guam’s 3-2 win over the Northern Mariana Islands in Day 2 of the Jockey Club Girls International Youth Invitational Football Tournament 2019 in Hong Kong.

With NMI leading 2-1 at halftime, Guam’s team made a stronger push with refinements in technique and strategy to pull together two goals for the victory.

“The girls played our way today; we gave them key reminders of our playing style at half time – they trusted us and they trusted each other, and the result was a composed well-executed second half with two goals,” said Guam’s Head Coach, Maggie Phillips via text. “In (Friday’s) team meeting, we had some very special moments with the girls discussing what a rivalry is and what it means to truly play with your heart and not just your head. The girls know our playing style; they know what we want – I wanted them to remember why they play.

I wanted them to remember what they love about the sport and what it means to represent their island. Combining all these aspects launched this team forward today. They came together with ferocity, they represented Guam with pride, and they improved their play massively.

“The NMI team was what we expected – I knew if the girls came out focused and ready to play, they would get the win. We debuted two players in the first half – Alina Gumataotao and Michala Connelley. This was a great game for them to get a taste of an international match. Furthermore, I was also very strategic in how I rotated players (Friday) and (Thursday) with the back-to-back game days. I was careful to only let a few players play a full game and no one played two full games. This allowed us to maintain our game until the 90th minute, which is what helped us keep an edge over NMI. I intentionally subbed a couple players later in the game in hopes of a final push that would seal the result, and I am happy to say that they did just that,” Phillips added.

NMI struck first in the 25th minute, before Guam’s Lauren Phillips leveled the match in the 32nd minute. Three minutes later, NMI regained the lead through to halftime. Jinae Teria netted the equalizer in the 64th minute before Shyann Roberto put away a penalty kick in stoppage time for the eventual 3-2 victory.

Teams in the tournament played without a rest day from Thursday’s opening matches. Guam fell to Laos 6-0 and host country Hong Kong edged NMI 1-0. The four teams will rest one day before the final match day on Sunday. Guam will take on Hong Kong at 4 p.m. Hong Kong time and NMI will play against Laos, also at 4 p.m. Hong Kong time.

“From the first match, we really worked on our defensive pressure,” Phillips said. “The girls did a great job in the first match of following our playing style, but they were not quite as strong defensively as we were asking them to be. (Against NMI) they came out and put pressure on the ball like we asked and the result speaks for itself.

“Every single player was vital for the match against NMI and now we are looking forward to being extremely competitive against Hong Kong,” Phillips added.

GFA will be hosting a live stream of the match on the organization’s official Internet TV page: https://mycujoo.tv/video/guamfa?id=39178

Guam's team get in a huddle ahead of the team's match against the Northern Mariana Islands in the Jockey Club Girls International Youth Invitational Football Tournament 2019 in Hong Kong Friday afternoon. Guam defeated NMI 3-2 in Day 2 of the international tournament. Photo courtesy of Maggie Phillips

Guam's starting 11 players pose for a photo ahead of the team's match against the Northern Mariana Islands in the Jockey Club Girls International Youth Invitational Football Tournament 2019 in Hong Kong Friday afternoon. Guam defeated NMI 3-2 in Day 2 of the international tournament. In the photo are, front row from left to right, Alina Gumataotao, Lauren Phillips, Hannah Cruz, Yasmeen Lopez, and Richelle Ragadio. In the back row, from left to right are Shyann Roberto, Kaia Malakooti, Kiarra Hutcherson, Candie Cura, Rylee Guzman, and Michala Connelley. Photo courtesy of Maggie Phillips

 
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