Sato, Schrock impress Dooley
The Philippine Azkals may have absorbed one of their worst losses in the past six years in the 1-5 shellacking by Uzbekistan Tuesday night, but coach Thomas Dooley was quick to single out defender Daisuke Sato for his standout performance in defense at Philippine Sports Stadium.
The Filipino-Japanese’s composed play at leftback was one of the few bright spots in the Azkals’ defeat, drawing praise from Dooley, who played centerback in the German Bundesliga as well as for the United States national team.
“I thought Sato was excellent in the game,” Dooley said.
Playing like a battle-tested veteran, the 20-year-old Sato broke up the Uzbek attack several times in the first half, including a couple of last-ditch challenges on striker Igor Sergeev.
The Azkals also got a solid performance from substitute Stephan Schrock who sparked the attack when he came in for the second half. The Fil-German midfielder struck a curling free kick into the back of the net.
“We needed Schrock to create something for us,” Dooley said. “We had two good games against Bahrain and Yemen and I couldn’t change the starting eleven so he came off the bench.”
Schrock made a strong case for a starting role against North Korea on Oct. 8 with his pace and trickery.
“The most important thing now is to come back and play better in the next two games,” said Schrock.