Quality Distributors hoisted the Marianas Cup after outclassing the CNMI U19 National Team, 2-1, last Sunday at the Oleai Sports Complex Field.
Midfielder Jan-Willem Staman connected on the go-ahead goal in the second half to lift the Guam Football League champion to a win against the home team in the 2013 Marianas Football Cup, the fifth edition of the special tournament that pits CNMI players against Guam. Guam topped the first three tournaments (2007 to 2009), while the Commonwealth shared the Cup with its neighbor in 2010 after settling for a 1-1 draw in their June 19 match.
Joining Staman on the 2013 champion team are starting goalkeeper Brett Maluwelmeng, David Manibusan, Devin Maluwelmeng, Imry Campbell, James Bush, Joshua Mendiola, Kaito Inoque, Paul Long, Philip Ogo, Robby De Guzman, Scott Leon Guerrero, Bradley Miller, Zachary Cruz, Ryan Quitugua, and Jared Pangindian.
Quality Distributors drew first blood in the second game of the day with Ogo hitting a right cross in the 35th minute after getting away from two CNMI defenders. CNMI goalie Ethan Dickinson dove for the save, but was already too late, as the ball had already found the back of the net.
Earlier before Ogo put Quality Distributors in the board, the Teen Ayuyus had chances to score, but were repeatedly frustrated by Quality Distributors’ steady defense. Several of those attacks were anchored by forward Sean Perez, who at one point in the first half went for shots twice against the Guam goalkeeper, but the burly Maluwelmeng used his body to deflect the ball and even drew enough contact to get the former off balance for the attempt.
After hanging tough on defense in the first half, Maluwelmeng committed a lapse early in the second. He went for a diving save against the shot of John Diego Masga, but failed to control the ball, leaving Jake Lee with enough room to go for a follow-up kick and the equalizer in the 46th minute of the match.
Lee’s recovery lifted the home team’s spirits and the Teen Ayuyus went toe-to-toe against the visitors in the next 10 minutes before Staman found a hole on the CNMI’s defense. Staman won a footrace against three defenders and went for a left cross inside the penalty box. Dickinson was a few feet away from his spot, as he seemed to be heading up to gamble for help defense with one of his teammates falling down and when he stepped back, Staman’s shot was already in.
Now down, the CNMI was pressured to be more active on offense in the remaining minutes of the game, but Quality Distributors’ defense was there to foil the home team’s comeback bid and preserved its lead and the win.
Bush, the Quality Distributor’s captain in last Sunday’s game, was presented with the Marianas Cup during the awards ceremony that was attended by Quality Distributors team owner and Guam Football Association official George Lai and Northern Mariana Islands Football Association president Jerry Tan.