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Azkals come to grief

first_imgWhile the small Indonesian contingent whooped it up at the final whistle in Manila, there was heartbreak  in Bocaue—a pain that was the exact opposite of the mood in past AFF Suzuki Cup tournaments when the Azkals bucked odds and took down some of the region’s best teams.Midfielder Stephan Schrock minced no words as the Azkals came to grips with the result. “It’s a disaster,” he said. “We are all disappointed at the moment. We won’t shy from it.”The Azkals may have been doomed from the start. Unable to sustain the momentum of their stunning 3-2 win over North Korea in World Cup Qualifying last March, the Azkals— out of action for the next five months—groped for form.The preparation was far from ideal and all the signs were there for everyone to see when they suffered friendly losses to Bahrain and North Korea last October. Azkals coach Thomas Dooley saw no reason to panic. “If the Suzuki Cup were [held] tomorrow then I would be worried,” Dooley said then.He said he had a good plan in the Suzuki Cup and the players were firm in their belief that they could break new ground in the tournament. “I believe in the players and in our capability as a team,” said Phil Younghusband, the Azkals skipper.ADVERTISEMENT Smart’s Siklab Saya: A multi-city approach to esports We are young PH among economies most vulnerable to virus Taiwan minister boards cruise ship turned away by Japan PLAY LIST 01:31Taiwan minister boards cruise ship turned away by Japan01:33WHO: ‘Global stocks of masks and respirators are now insufficient’01:01WHO: now 31,211 virus cases in China 102:02Vitamin C prevents but doesn’t cure diseases like coronavirus—medic03:07’HINDI PANG-SPORTS LANG!’03:03SILIP SA INTEL FUND As fate of VFA hangs, PH and US forces take to the skies for exercise But the Azkals came to grief Friday night after losing to Thailand, 0-1, before another sparse crowd at faraway Philippine Sports Stadium in Bocaue, Bulacan. The tournament went down the wire—down to the last six minutes of the final Group A matches last Friday night, when the last semifinalist from the group was decided.Thailand, unbeaten in three matches, and Indonesia, which fought back from a goal down to beat Singapore, 2-1, advanced. The Philippines and Singapore got the boot.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSGinebra teammates show love for SlaughterSPORTSWe are youngSPORTSFreddie Roach: Manny Pacquiao is my Muhammad AliTwo points from three matches weren’t enough and, after Sarawut Masuk beat Roland Muller on the breakaway in the 81st minute, the Azkals’ run of three semifinal appearances in the tournament came to a halt.The result against the Thais would have been enough had Indonesia and Singapore drew in a simultaneous match at Rizal Memorial Stadium. But Stefano Lilipaly, the Dutch-Indonesian midfielder, lived up to the hype, banging in a volley from inside the area to send the perennially underachieving Indonesians to the next round. An AFF Suzuki Cup between Philippines and Thailand at the Philippine Sports Stadium in Bocaue, Bulacan. Photo by Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.netWhat was supposed to be a showcase of the progress of the Philippine national team the past six years became an illustration of the amount of work that needs to be done to keep the Azkals in the upper echelons of Southeast Asian football.Being Southeast Asia’s top-ranked team and host of the group stage for the first time, the Azkals entered the Asean Football Federation (AFF) Suzuki Cup as one of the favorites to advance to the semifinals, despite the presence of former semifinal conquerors Thailand, Singapore and Indonesia.ADVERTISEMENT Still, there will be questions that need to be answered before the team takes the next step forward. Is a revamp on the cards? Is Dooley still the man for the job? Is the Philippine Football Federation developing enough talent from the age-group level to make the senior team? Can the Azkals prepare poorly and still expect to get away with wins? Are games promoted enough to fill the stadium for the Azkals’ home games?The period of introspection begins.“There’s always tomorrow and there are always some positive things to take away,” said Schrock. “We’ll analyze that and come back stronger.”Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Chinese-manned vessel unsettles Bohol town Smart hosts first 5G-powered esports exhibition match in PH 30 Filipinos from Wuhan quarantined in Capas Mainland China virus cases exceed 40,000; deaths rise to 908 Four squads mix it up for final 4 berths MOST READ Younghusband’s statement may have masked the concerns within the squad. There were just too many players playing out of position, including Younghusband himself—a prolific striker now deployed as a defensive midfielder by Dooley. There was a lack of defenders in the squad. The vocal leaders of past runs such as Rob Gier were no longer around and nobody seemed ready to take the leadership mantle.To watch it all unfold—and unravel—in the Suzuki Cup, in front of Filipino fans, was tough to take. But even in diversity, there was always faith in the team’s capacity to pull through. Not this time.The Azkals struggled to break down Singapore even though the enemy was down to 10 men, managing just a a point from the scoreless draw. The second match offered hope as the Azkals, showing the never-say-die spirit of old, fought back from a goal down twice to hold off Indonesia, 2-2, setting the stage for a tight Group A finish.Younghusband’s curling free kick for the equalizer in the 81st minute was a reminder of his quality when he’s closer to goal. But it was still in the Azkals’ hands heading into the match against Thailand, which had already qualified after winning its first two matches.The Thais had the luxury of resting their stars, like Teerasil Dangda and Chanathip Songkrasin, but even their so-called “B” team is filled with talented players.Dooley gambled on his defense, this time putting 17-year-old Marco Casambre at central defense alongside Amani Aguinaldo. And while the teenager acquitted himself after a shaky start, Dooley sacrificed him for the more attack-minded Kevin Ingreso in search of a winner late on against the Thais.The move backfired as the back line, already settled before Casambre left, allowed Sarawut to score on the breakaway. It was one gamble too many for Dooley.“Obviously, this is not what everybody expected,” said Dooley. “We created a lot of chances, we didn’t have 100-percent chances, but we had six, seven, maybe eight good chances. We wanted to run a little bit because we knew the score from Singapore-Indonesia. Maybe it was a little too risky trying to play offside.”In the end, the Thais, a class above the rest with their quality and free-flowing style, deserved topping Group A. The Indonesians also earned their berth to the next round by playing without fear on attack.As for the Azkals, there will be plenty of scrutiny in the coming months with the next competition slated in March yet. The positives cannot be ignored, though, with Casambre emerging as a viable option at the back and Pika Minegishi and Mike Ott bringing attacking verve. EDITORS’ PICK Where did they go? Millions left Wuhan before quarantine Shanghai officials reveal novel coronavirus transmission modes Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. View commentslast_img read more

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Kreis shaping Orlando for post-Kaka era

first_imgMLS Kreis shaping revamped Orlando City for the post-Kaka era Thomas Floyd @thomasfloyd10 Last updated 1 year ago 00:14 2/27/18 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(0) Sacha Kljestan Kaka MLS All-Stars Jerry Lai MLS Orlando City The third-year coach has overseen an offseason overhaul in hopes of leading the franchise to its first MLS playoff appearance Orlando City made a substantial miscalculation. Jason Kreis knows as much now, hindsight being 20/20 and all.But when the club’s front office devised a strategy for the 2017 MLS campaign, an overhaul wasn’t in the cards. The Lions had finished just one point shy of a playoff spot in Kreis’ first full season in charge. Add a starter here, a depth piece there, and Orlando could ride its spark-plug of a new stadium to the club’s first playoff appearance since entering MLS in 2015.”We took a very conscious decision last offseason to not change things radically,” Kreis told Goal. “We took the decision at the time because we felt we were very close to being good enough to be a playoff team, to be a contender for MLS Cup. Editors’ Picks Lyon treble & England heartbreak: The full story behind Lucy Bronze’s dramatic 2019 Liverpool v Man City is now the league’s biggest rivalry and the bitterness is growing Megan Rapinoe: Born & brilliant in the U.S.A. A Liverpool legend in the making: Behind Virgil van Dijk’s remarkable rise to world’s best player “But what we found was we were wrong.”For what it’s worth, the approach looked foolproof for a while. By the time April turned to May, the Lions were preying upon the rest of the Eastern Conference. But that was before the forgiveness of a front-loaded home schedule gave way to an elongated reality check. Having won six of the club’s first seven games, Orlando only notched four victories in its 27 remaining contests while finishing second-to-last in the East.Injuries played their part, and some players underperformed. Off-the-field problems surfaced as well. The reality, though? Orlando just wasn’t good enough.”We felt like we needed to take a more radical direction,” Kreis said. “That was to essentially completely overhaul the team, and we’ve worked extremely hard in the offseason to find new players, to work deals, to trade for some very top-level players and ultimately find people that are like us — that are extremely competitive, that are extremely willing and able to do anything necessary to improve this team and to improve our fortunes.”Trades brought in MLS standouts Sacha Kljestan and Justin Meram to inject the attacking midfield with proven quality. Oriol Rosell — perhaps the smoothest metronome MLS had to offer during his stint with Sporting Kansas City — arrived from Sporting CP. The club hopes the signing of Paraguayan playmaker Josue Colman, 19, brings promise and production. And the back line was bolstered by the acquisition of Senegal international Lamine Sane from Werder Bremen.Jason Kreis Orlando CityFactor in midfielder Yoshimar Yotun and forward Dom Dwyer — high-profile additions from midway through last season — and Kreis seems poised to field a first XI virtually unrecognizable from the unit he relied on in the first half of 2017.”We’ve found players that fit the system that Jason and the coaching staff here really want to play,” Orlando defender Jonathan Spector said. “That was key for us. We’ve got good players in those roles, and we’ve got depth now. Now it’s integrating them into the team, getting them to understand the culture of this group and what we’re trying to build here.”Building anew, of course, means tearing down the old. In shaping an identity for Orlando City, Kreis has seen the club move on from original faces of the franchise — most notably, Brazilian icon Kaka.While his production proved sporadic, Kaka was every bit the ambassador the fledgling club needed when it made the jump from the USL to MLS. Although Kaka’s retirement has been well addressed from a tactical standpoint, with Kljestan, Meram and Colman filling the midfield’s “creative vision” quota, Orlando was never going to find a like-for-like replacement in terms of brand-building reputation.The exit of Cyle Larin, on the other hand, had clearer on-the-field implications. Orlando’s first-ever draft pick, the Canada international represented a homemade star of sorts — making it all the more painful when he forced through a messy move to Besiktas this offseason. Now it’s up to Dwyer to translate his prolific track record to a new club and fill the shoes of the only leading scorer Orlando has known in its three MLS seasons.”The message that is being delivered and needs to be delivered is that we’re going to build faces of our franchise based on success,” Kreis said. “Let’s win as a team first, and then by winning we’ll establish players’ names that fans and people outside of our club would like to talk about. We are all laser focused on improving and getting results, and letting the chips fall where they may, so to speak, about who the fans deem are the stars.”Spector added: “I know having Kaka here was a great opportunity for me, to be able to play with someone like that who at one point was the best player in the world. But soccer moves on, right? It keeps changing and evolving.”While Kaka and Larin earned their places in Orlando City lore, they originally weren’t Kreis’ players — they were remnants of the Adrian Heath regime. Since taking over for Heath in July 2016, Kreis already had overseen a slow but steady roster revamp before this offseason’s more dramatic shift. Now, goalkeeper Joe Bendik and midfielder Cristian Higuita are the only players on the roster who saw the field under Heath.If the sum of Orlando’s parts again doesn’t add up this season, Kreis and Co. won’t be shying from responsibility.”If you asked me last year, I would have said, ‘This is my team. This is a team that I believe in because they are the ones putting it out there for us, the coaching staff, every single day and every single match,'” Kreis said. “But truth be told, there may have been a collection of players that it didn’t seem like we could do anything with from a contractual standpoint. You’re making the best out of the tools you’ve been given.”This season, after the process we have gone through, now I could say 100 percent that all of the players that are here and will be a part of the club in 2018 are guys that are our guys. This is now our team, without a shadow of a doubt.”last_img read more

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Springsteen And Friends Raise Almost 23 Million For Sandy Victims

first_imgThe American Red Cross and NBCUniversal have announced that Hurricane Sandy: Coming Together, a live, one-hour benefit telethon, generated nearly $23 million in support of victims impacted by Hurricane Sandy.A record number of individual donations by phone, text and online were accepted by the American Red Cross during the 8:00 p.m. – 12:00 a.m. time period beginning on Friday, November 2, 2012. The volume of website and phone traffic exceeded previous benefit telethons in support of the American Red Cross over the last five years.“We are incredibly grateful and humbled by this outpouring of support for those who are suffering as a result of Superstorm Sandy,” said American Red Cross Chief Marketing Officer Peggy Dyer. “Our preliminary results of nearly $23 million raised are an extraordinary example of how the American people pull together in times of disaster. Their generous donations will go directly to those in need, and we urge the public to continue to give. We also thank the dedicated and talented team at NBCUniversal for the millions of people they have helped through this telethon.”Hosted by NBC “Today” anchor Matt Lauer, the live telethon featured performances by Christina Aguilera (NBC’s “The Voice”), Mary J. Blige, Jon Bon Jovi, Billy Joel, Joe Perry, Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, Sting and Steven Tyler as well as appearances by Kevin Bacon, Jimmy Fallon (NBC’s “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon”), Tina Fey, Whoopi Goldberg, Jon Stewart and NBC News’ Brian Williams.Performances included: Jimmy Fallon with Steven Tyler and Bruce Springsteen on vocals and Billy Joel on piano for a rendition of “Under the Boardwalk;” Christina Aguilera of “Beautiful;” Jon Bon Jovi of a medley of “Who Says You Can’t Go Home” and “Living on a Prayer;” Billy Joel of “Miami 2017;” Mary J. Blige of “Living Proof;” Sting of “Message in a Bottle;” Steven Tyler and Joe Perry of “Dream On;” Bruce Springsteen of “Land of Hope and Dreams.”“Hurricane Sandy: Coming Together” will be available online through the weekend across NBCUniversal digital properties including NBC.com, g4tv.com and nbcnews.com as well as on Xfinity.com/tv and Hulu. Comcast cable markets are also offering the telethon on Xfinity On Demand throughout the weekend. The telethon is also available on demand from over 40 cable, satellite and telco operators including AT&T, Cox Communications, DIRECTV, Time Warner Cable and Verizon FiOS, among others.The benefit telethon was broadcast Friday, November 2, 8:00 – 9:00 p.m. ET live from the New York studios of NBC at 30 Rockefeller Plaza across the NBCUniversal networks including: NBC, Bravo, CNBC, E!, G4, MSNBC, NBC Sports Network, Style, Syfy and USA as well as HBO, Discovery’s Fit & Health and Velocity networks, The Weather Channel and Wealth TV. The NBC Owned and some affiliate television stations live-streamed the telethon on their websites.Comcast’s xfinity.com/TV, Hulu and more than 100 Gannett-owned websites, including usatoday.com, live streamed the telethon, along with multiple NBCUniversal digital properties, including: NBC.com, Fandango, iVillage, g4tv.com, nbcnews.com and weather.com.Clear Channel radio stations, along with a number of local radio stations from across the Tri-State area, simulcast coverage of the event.The American Red Cross response to Sandy is very large and will be very costly, affecting a massive area spanning much of the eastern half of the country. Financial donations help the American Red Cross provide shelter, food, emotional support and other assistance to those affected by disasters like Hurricane Sandy. To donate, people can visit www.redcross.org, call 1-800-HELPNOW or text the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.Source:Red Crosslast_img read more

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Key Muskrat Falls flooding promise to Labrador Inuit broken

first_img(Protestors march against the Muskrat Falls hydroelectric project in June 2016.)Trina RoacheAPTN National NewsIndigenous leaders in Labrador are speaking out about a broken promise over the controversial hydroelectric project at Muskrat Falls.Part of an agreement reached last October between Innu and Inuit leaders and the Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador stipulated that if the Muskrat Falls reservoir was flooded, the waters would be released in the spring.Nalcor Energy, the provincially-owned corporation developing Muskrat Falls, announced on June 12 to the public that the water levels in the reservoir wouldn’t be lowered until mid-July.Nunatsiavut President Johannes Lampe called it “a direct contravention to one of the commitments made during the fall meeting.”On Monday morning, Labrador Land Protectors gathered outside the Labrador and Aboriginal Affairs building where the local office of the Premier Dwight Ball is located in Happy Valley-Goose Bay. I advised him that we fully expect him and his government to honor the commitments that were made last fall. – Nunatsiavut President Johannes Lampe Ball is also Minister for Aboriginal Affairs. Land protectors are demanding he resigns. Ultimately, they want Muskrat Falls shut down. Right now, they want the reservoir water released. The main concern is methylmercury.A 2015 study by Harvard University indicated trees and topsoil left in the reservoir after flooding will create the naturally occurring neurotoxin and may contaminate traditional food sources downstream.Last fall, as the date to start flooding neared, protests ramped up. Land protectors wanted the reservoir fully cleared. Nalcor said it needed to raise the waters upstream of the spillway to protect its infrastructure from ice damage through the winter.After a meeting that went on into the early morning hours of October 26, 2016, the premier and Indigenous leaders announced a deal. A key promise was to release the flood waters in the spring before the water warmed and methylmercury became an issue. Last week, Lampe wrote a letter to Premier Dwight Ball.“I advised him that we fully expect him and his government to honor the commitments that were made last fall,” said Lampe. “Water levels in the reservoir should be lowered immediately, in a controlled and safe manner, and in consultation with the Nunatsiavut Government, the Innu Nation and the NunatuKavut Community Council, as well as surrounding communities.”Indigenous leaders became aware of Nalcor’s revised dates to lower the water in the reservoir in mid-May through a planning meeting for the Independent Expert Advisory Committee, a group set up to address concerns around Muskrat Falls.President of the NunatuKavut Community Council Todd Russell said his staff expressed concerns at the meeting. But those weren’t reflected in a letter at the end of May from Nalcor President and CEO Stan Marshall to the Indigenous leaders.“It is very disappointing that Nalcor did not acknowledge or address our concerns immediately so that our experts could appropriately review the data,” said Russell in a statement released on Monday. “This would help determine whether there would be elevated production of methylmercury as a result of prolonged impoundment during the spring months.”An email response from the Premier’s office said, “The Provincial Government is engaging the indigenous leaders directly on this matter. The Premier remains committed to the terms that were agreed upon on October 26, 2016.”“The Premier assured me that all commitments will be fulfilled,” said President Lampe in a media release Friday. The Nunatsiavut leader is expecting further word this week.The reason for the delay, according to a Facebook post by Nalcor Energy on June 12, was to allow for the installation of “necessary equipment that will ensure the safety of river users near the spillway and facility. Once this work is completed, the water level in the reservoir will be lowered.”troache@aptn.calast_img read more