Azkals Game Scratched; Fans To Receive Refunds

Fans
Photo Credit To JGLiPhoto by Joseph G. Lariosa

CHICAGO (jGLi) – Promoters of the cancelled soccer game between the Philippines’ Azkals and U.S. Virgin Islands at the Kuntz Stadium in Indianapolis, Indiana last Friday (Aug. 17) are going to refund fans, who bought tickets for the game.

A recorded message at Kuntz Stadium said buyers, who bought tickets at the game between Azkals and U.S. Virgin Islands’ The Dashing Eagles, should get refunds of their tickets from retailers.

Nena Perez, one of the sponsors of the Azkals, told this reporter that the team from U.S. Virgin Islands failed to make it to Indianapolis “due to complications” last Wednesday (Aug. 15), two days before the scheduled exhibition games.

It was reported that the Caribbean team appeared to have “visa problems.”

Organizers of the game and ticket retailers, however, could not be reached for comment.

Ms. Perez, who produces cream for men and cosmetics for women in the United States but distributes them to Latin America and Asian countries, said the Azkals left for the Philippines last Saturday (Aug. 18).

The Azkals got a rude welcome last Saturday (Aug. 11) when host Chicago Inferno of the United Soccer League’s (USL) Premiere Development League (PDL) manhandled them, 3-1, before a predominantly Filipino-American crowd of about a thousand in an “international friendly” game at its home court at the Joe Bean Stadium in Chicago’s suburban Wheaton College in suburban Wheaton, Illinois.

Brian Bauer, marketing and publicity officer of Chicago Inferno, described the game as a “a truly unique evening, (as) the Chicago Inferno became the first USL Premier Developmental League team to host another country’s national team and it was historic.

FANS MAKE INFERNO UNDERDOG

Playing to a packed house at Wheaton College, the Inferno was clearly the underdog as the majority of the crowd came to see the Philippine Men’s National Football Team, affectionately known as the Azkals. The night turned out to be a great one. With flags flying, constant singing and a festive attitude, even a 3-1 win by the Inferno did not mar the fans enjoyment.”

If the cheering fans were the gauge, it appeared the visiting Philippine team is having an edge as the fans for the Azkals are drowning a handful of Chicago Inferno fans.

The Inferno was not one to be intimidated as Chicago forward Carl Haworth drove a shot from the 25 yards in the seventh minute, eluding Azkals goalkeeper Eduard Scapano, for 1-0 score.

In the 14th minute, Inferno’s midfielder Drew Jeskey took a high bounce and kicked the ball with his left foot and the got the ball past the goalie for the 2-0 lead for Chicago.

In the 33rd minute, Jeskey, the former Northern Illinois University standout, managed to blast another shot from a low free kick from Dustin Downey that blew past defenders at the back corner for a 3-0 score.

But the Philippine team was not one to just easily give up. In the final 73rd minute, the new substituted midfielder O.J. Porteria kicked a cross to defender Carli De Murga, who rifled the ball to the net, for the only goal of the visitor, preventing a shutout.

“I’m happy for the goal but sad for the score.” De Murga, a 23-year-old Spaniard, said.

“In the first half, we did not concentrate but the second half was better.”

Azkals coach Hans Michael Weiss attributed his team’s loss to “poor” execution of the plays in the first half, adding in the “second (half), we changed a couple of players and the new players played very well. I was contented with the second half very much. We just needed some adjustments. We have many training sessions, jet lag, and time difference. But these are not excuses.”

The Philippines, which plays in the Asian Football Confederation, was using the U.S. training camp and friendly matches with Inferno and Dashing Eagles as tune-up game for November’s ASEAN Football Federation (AFF) Suzuki Cup, which will be co-hosted by Malaysia and Thailand. The Azkals reached the semifinals of the last Suzuki Cup in 2010.

Tickets for Chicago Inferno vs. Philippines matches were priced at $25, while tickets Chicago Inferno vs. U.S. Virgin Islands cost $20. (lariosa_jos@sbcglobal.net)

PHOTOCAPTION:

FANS WHO WATCHED AZKALS v. INFERNO:

A panoramic view of fans, mostly rooting for Philippines’ Azkals, is shown in this photo taken during the exhibition soccer game between the visiting Azkals and host Chicago Inferno at the Joe Bean Stadium in Chicago’s suburban Wheaton College in suburban Wheaton, Illinois last Saturday (Aug. 11) (jGLiPhoto by Joseph G. Lariosa)

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