The current Major League Soccer Cup 2011 winner, the Los Angeles Galaxy, just arrived in the country for a friendly match against the Philippine National Men's Football Team a.k.a The Azkals on December 3 at the Rizal Memorial Stadium.
Arriving at 230pm today, the squad rested at Makati Shangrila Hotel and held a press conference earlier in the evening.
The first part of the press conference was dedicated to the Azkal contingent, composed of newly-reelected Philippine Football Federation President Mariano Araneta, Azkals Team Manager Dan Palami, Dream Cup organizer Jinx Macabenta, Head Coach Hans Michael Weiss, Team Captain Aly Borromeo, co-Captain Chieffy Caligdong, James Younghusband and Phil Younghusband. Chieffy expressed that in spite of Aly's absence, the entire team will play at their best for their match this Saturday. Phil said that they would play defensively and use their speedy players such as Caligdong, and maximize counter attacks. Meanwhile, Weiss would be flexible in maximizing his bench, despite the absence of several of his key European-based regulars such as Neil Etheridge, Stephen Schrock and Roland Muller. Borromeo, who just arrived from the United States to rest, expressed his disappointment on not being able to play against the Galaxy on Saturday. "I always looked up to Galaxy", said Borromeo, who grew up a San Jose Earthquake fan. In addition, Palami expressed that when this kind of opportunity comes, they did not have second thoughts on seizing it. In the end, Caligdong promised to give a good fight. "Lalaban tayo," declared Caligdong.
The second part of the press conference was the opportunity for the media to ask questions to LA Galaxy contingent, composed of Head Coach Bruce Arena, team captain Landon Donovan and midfielder David Beckham. All three first expressed their heartfelt thanks for welcoming their team in the country. As for tactics, Arena will figure out in the following days if he would maximize his bench or rely on his starting 11 most of the match. On coming, Donovan said that one of their staff is a Filipina and they have been curious about the development of football in the country. "I learned the Azkals, but did not become aware of it immediately," said Donovan. Arena also expressed that the state of Philippine football is indeed promising. He touted his expreience with the United States squad. "US Team chased the dream," he uttered. Lastly, Beckham affirmed that indeed, "football changes life, changes people's mentalities all over the world".
The press conference ended with a photo opt and an exchange of jerseys. Ebong Joson moderated the said event.