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Beckham, Galaxy wary of Azkals

'We want to win even if it’s a friendly’


Philippines Azkals' skipper Aly Borromeo, LA Galaxy's Landon Donovan and David Beckham, Azkals' Chieffy Caligdong and Phil and James Younghusband. Photo by Mark Giongco

MANILA, Philippines—Few expect the Philippine Azkals to stun world football icon David Beckham and the Los Angeles Galaxy in an exhibition match Saturday night at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium.

But Beckham—still beaming just hours after arriving in Manila from another friendly  in Jakarta—said  that this coup of a match may not be as easy as many think.

“We had a difficult game yesterday, our legs haven’t come back yet,” said Beckham, whose Galaxy won over an Indonesian All-Star Team, 1-0, on Wednesday night in the Major League Soccer (MLS) champions’ first game of its Asian tour.

Diplomatic football
“We expect the game to be exactly the same. We know there are talented players here, so we expect a difficult game. We always try to play diplomatic football, but that doesn’t always happen. We want to win the game no matter if it’s a friendly.”

Even Azkals stars Aly Borromeo, Chieffy Caligdong and the Younghusband brothers  James and Phil don’t see themselves getting reduced to star-struck fans as much as they all look up to Beckham and company.

“During the game it’s different, you concentrate on the ball and the players around you,” said Phil in a press conference Thursday at the Makati Shangri-La Hotel.

“I don’t think anybody of us will be awed. It’s important to be professionals before and during the game. We’ll play the same as we usually play, no matter who the opposition is. I think it’s important we concentrate on our own game. Obviously, LA Galaxy have players of a high standard so we have to play more defensively when you’re playing against such strong attacking players.”

Landon Donovan, the Galaxy captain and all-time leading scorer, admitted however that his team hasn’t heard much of the Azkals.

“We’re not aware of the Azkals, but we’re aware that there’s a Philippine national team,” said Donovan.

“One of the members of our staff back home is from here and we asked her a lot of questions,” he added.

Football clinic

The Galaxy kick off their Manila tour with a football clinic at 1:30 p.m. Friday at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium, before practicing in front of a paying public later in the afternoon.

Aside from Beckham and Donovan, also set to see action are 2011 MLS Defender of the Year Omar Gonzalez, Mike Magee, Josh Saunders and Robbie Keane, who scored the goal in the Jakarta friendly.

“We expect to play 100 percent,” said Galaxy coach Bruce Arena. “We’re thrilled to be here. We look forward to a real competitive match.”

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Tags: David Beckham , Football , Josh Saunders , Landon Donovan , Los Angeles Galaxy , Major League Soccer , Mike Magee , MLS , Omar Gonzalez , Philippine Azkals , Philippines , Robbie Keane. , Sporta

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_MBTLMT6FG577IDZ66MPJS3TF4Q ace

    as much as I applaud Phil for his football skills, I want to see Chieffy put on a show

    by the way, who will be our goalkeeper?

    • peach black

      goalkeeper? Angel Locsin?

  • peach black

    by the way, yong dalawang younghusbands kamukha ni Ricky Rivero.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_AGLTJCWRCJUAA3ZVZBST47OCGY Juancho ren

    Chieffy Caligdong will make an impact on this game for sure..

  • peach black

    ha ha ha ha, mga ulanghiya kayo. . . puro kayo hecklers. although wala akong bilib sa mga half-breed kasi they are almost always full of themselves because they mistakenly think it matters where you were born or what your pedigree is, I recognize their effort to play for our country. give them some slack.

  • Anonymous

    Wary for what? talent wise as well as experience they (Azkals) are way behind. But who knows they might pull an upset. Just cherish the moment. Long-lived football in the Philippines! Finally!

  • http://twitter.com/ariannekic arianne coballes∆

    I’m gonna wear La Galaxy colors on Dec 3 but will definitely cheer for Chieffy! He has the most potential for international stage. too bad he’s getting old but his legacy will continue

  • http://twitter.com/hustlergalore hustlergalore

    hindi kilala ng mga ibang noypi si chieffy kasi hindi siya kamukha ng mga younghusbands o di kaya half-breeds at walang syotang artista. LOL

    • Anonymous

      Haha! I agree. You know how the local media and advertisers are obsessed with half-Filipinos with their oh-so-gorgeous features.

  • http://dayanatuna.com Dianne

    A lot of people will watch the game because of Beckham IMO.

  • Anonymous

    Beckham is just trying to be nice.  LA Galaxy is a professional team and their lowest ranked bench player is definitely much much better that Azkals’ best….Look at this way….It is very remote possibility for LA Galaxy to draft anybody from Azkals!  

    IMHO, they are just equivalent to Mt. SAC “Mounties” Soccer team (Walnut, California), a Division 3 member of National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA)…..which is not bad for a community college program….but not good enough as a national team….Azkals are more of hypep-up team and too over-rated for their own good.  

  • Anonymous

    Of all the players I have in mind, I really do think that Chieffy deserves to play with the stars. He is our best homegrown talent, and I am happy for him. This should serve as an inspiration to the young and blossoming football generation in our country.

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