WHEATON, Illinois (jGLi) – Host Chicago Inferno of the United Soccer League’s (USL) Premiere Development League is off to a successful 2012 season debut by beating the visiting Philippine team, Azkals (mga asong kalsada or street dogs), 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 Saturday (Aug. 11).
The Inferno, one of the only two Great Lakes Division teams under the USL Premiere Development League’s Central Conference, only needed the spectacular efforts of midfielder Drew Jeske, who scored a pair of goals in the 14th and 24th minutes of the first half. The other team in the Great Lakes Division is Chicago Fire Premier.
Inferno’s forward Carl Haworth scored the first goal at the 7th minute, blanking Askals in the 45-minute first half.
Askals’ defender Carli De Murga was the only one to score from either team in the second half.
“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.”
Inferno plays again with the U.S. Virgin Islands’ The Dashing Eagle on Aug. 14 while the Azkals will hold a scrimmage on Tuesday (Aug. 14) to prepare against The Dashing Eagle on Friday (Aug. 17) at nearby Kuntz Stadium in Indianapolis, Indiana.
AZKALS IS SECOND IN HISTORY TO FACE PDL
The Philippines and U.S. Virgin Islands will be the second and third in history to face a team from the PDL, a national summer league composed of top collegiate players.
The men’s soccer teams in the U.S. have three professional leagues in the Professional Division of the U.S. Soccer Federation – the Major League Soccer (MLS); the North American Soccer League; the USL Pro. The USL Premiere Development League, where Chicago Inferno belongs, is the fourth level.
In a press statement in its website, Chicago Inferno President Todd Short said,
“It’s such an honor for our first-year club to host these friendlies against two up-and-coming soccer nations.” Short’s company Soccer Specific Development, LLC owns the Inferno franchise and is the exclusive U.S. promoter of the two national teams. “The matches give the Inferno a chance to play two competitive games, while increasing the visibility of the Inferno brand well beyond the Chicagoland area.
The Philippines, which plays in the Asian Football Confederation, is using the U.S. training camp and friendly matches as preparation 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.
Among the regular standouts for manager Dan Palami’s team are brothers James and Phil Younghusband, two of the nation’s most popular sportsmen, and goalkeeper Neil Etheridge, who plays professionally for Fulham of the English Premier League.
The U.S. Virgin Islands, which competes in CONCACAF (Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football), the same confederation as the United States and Mexico, is co-managed by Carlton Freeman and Terrence Jones.
Tickets for Chicago Inferno vs. Philippines and Philippines vs. U.S. Virgin Islands matches were $25, while tickets Chicago Inferno vs. U.S. Virgin Islands cost $20. Tickets are available on the Chicago Inferno web site at www.infernosc.com.
Consul General Leo M. Herrera-Lim invited the Filipino American community to support and watch the Azkals international friendly soccer matches.
Consulate’s cultural officer Berth D. Salvador urged interested parties wanting information on the Azkals to call (312) 332-6458 ext. 22 or email the Consulate at email@example.com. (firstname.lastname@example.org)