By Cedelf P. Tupas
Philippine Daily Inquirer
MANILA, Philippines—National team mainstays Chieffy Caligdong and brothers Phil and James Younghusband will link up with key members of the Under-23 team when the Azkals face the Los Angeles Galaxy in an exhibition match on Dec. 3 at the Rizal Memorial Stadium.
Fil-British standouts Rob Gier and Chris Greatwich are also among the notable players in the 30-man list, along with striker Angel Guirado and defenders Ray Jonsson and Anton Del Rosario, who is expected to return to the squad after missing the friendly matches against Singapore and Nepal because of a knee injury.
The Galaxy, who further boosted their stock by winning the MLS Cup last week, boasts of global football stars David Beckham, Landon Donovan and Robbie Keane and coached by Bruce Arena, one of the most successful mentors in the United States.
The Galaxy are the first high-profile team to play an exhibition game in the country since Brazilian Paulista squad Cruziero visited the Philippines in the 1970s.
Captain Aly Borromeo has also been listed in the squad, although the central defender is expected to miss the game as he is still recovering from an ACL injury he sustained last month.
The Azkals will also miss dynamic midfielder Stephan Schrock, goalkeeper Neil Etheridge and veterans Jerry Lucena and Dennis Cagara as they are tied up with commitments with their clubs in Europe.
“We’re not with best team without Schrock, Etheridge and Lucena and that’s very unfortunate,” said Azkals coach Michael Weiss. “As much as I support and want to see this game coming, it would be better if you have the professionals so we could see them perform on a higher level.”
Goalkeeper Roland Muller who was among the best performers in the Southeast Asian Games is still doubtful for the match as he awaits clearance from his club, Duisburg.
“We will give the players from the Under-23 team a chance,” added Weiss in explaining his decision to also include the likes of Jerry Barbaso, Jake Morallo, Carli De Murga, Jason de Jong, Reymark Fernandez, OJ Clarino, Joshua Beloya, Gerardo Valmayor Paolo Pascual and Manny Ott in the squad.
Also in the squad are Ian Araneta, Misagh Bahadoran, Roel Gener, Nestorio Margarse, Eduard Sacapano, Nate Burkey, Lexton Moy and Jason Sabio.
Weiss has also included in the list newcomers Matthew Uy from the United States and California-born Demitrius Omphroy, who played at the Under-18 level for the US and the Under-21 level for Panama.
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