Nick Swaim saved the CNMI from being shutout in its last game in the Asian Football Championships 2010 Preliminary Competition, connecting on a penalty kick in a 1-4 loss to Mongolia yesterday at the Leo Palace Resort in Guam.
Swaim’s penalty shot came in the 75th minute, allowing the CNMI to have a sort of “streak” as it scored in all three games in the EAFF qualifier.
In their 1-6 debut loss to Macau Wednesday, Joe Miller nailed the first goal of the game, while team captain Peter Loken also scored in the CNMI strikers’ 1-2 loss to Guam Friday.
The CNMI Team, which is also composed of Evan Hunsberger, Yoshi Gabaldon, David Duenas, Brad Ruszala, Steve McKagan, Ben Wood, Gilmark Reusora, Jeffrey Cloud, Peter Houk, Dale Roberts, Jason Schroeder, Lucas Knecht, Bradley Brostrom, Daniel Macario, Jose Duenas, Chris Nelson, and Norman Camacho, is returning to Saipan this morning. Also on the team are coach Sugao Kambe, equipment manager John Ravell, and team manager Ken Imaya.
The CNMI-Mongolia tiff was played in the first game, while Guam was battling Macau in an important second match. Results of the second game were unavailable at press time.
If Guam, which won its first two games, wins against Macau, the hosts rule the tournament and advances to the semifinal round.
The hosts won over Mongolia on Wednesday, 1-0, with forward Christopher Mendiola scoring in the ninth minute. It was a historic feat for Guam, as it was its first time to win against a FIFA-ranked team since joining the world governing association of football, 13 years ago. Mongolia is ranked 192 in the world.
In the second game, Guam drew one goal each from Ian Mariano and Joshua Borja to thwart the hard-fighting CNMI strikers.
Pending the results of yesterday’s second game, Guam has earned six points after two wins, Mongolia also had six points on a 2-1 record, while Macau had a 1-1 slate for three points.
If Macau wins, there will be a three-way tie with Macau, Guam, and Mongolia all finishing with six points. In this case, the winner will be decided by goal difference in all matches. If there is still a tie, the team with the most goals scored in all three matches will be declared winner.
The winner of the preliminary competition will travel to Tainan, Taiwan this August to play against Chinese-Taipei, China, and Hong Kong in the semifinals.
Meanwhile, the CNMI Women’s National Team challenged its counterpart from Guam during the 2nd Annual Marianas Football Cup last Saturday with the hosts holding their ground en route to an 8-0 demolition of the visitors.