TanHoldings, Shirley’s draw first blood


An MP United Football Club player, left, dribbles away from TanHoldings Football Club’s Kaithlyn Chavez during the first half of their co-ed U13 game in the opening of the 2020 NMIFA Spring Youth League last Saturday at the NMI Soccer Training Center in Koblerville. (Mark Rabago)

TanHoldings Football Club and Shirley’s Football Club eked out close wins in their respective season debuts in the co-ed U13 division of the 2020 NMIFA Spring Youth League last Saturday at the NMI Soccer Training Center in Koblerville.

TanHoldings was paired against MP United Football and escaped with a 2-1 victory, while Shirley’s pulled off a similar tough win versus Kanoa Football Club in the other matchup last weekend, 4-3.

Branson Jay Santos drilled back-to-back goals in the second half to give Shirley’s cushion. His shot in the 54th minute broke the second deadlock in the match, 3-2, and he made another one a minute later to hand Shirley’s the insurance. Bennetton Haro also delivered a pair for Shirley’s with his first goal recorded in the 14th and the second in the 41st.

Paul Lizama was the third player to notch twin goals in the Shirley’s-Kanoa tiff with his conversion in the 14th minute tying the game for the first time. The match remained in a standoff until the halftime break, but an early goal in the second half (38th minute), courtesy of Rooney Gil, put Kanoa on top.

However, Kanoa could not keep the shaky lead, as Santos countered with his pair of goals, while the former got only one from Lizama, who posted the last shot in the close game in the 59th minute.

In the other match in the division, TanHoldings banked on two goals in the first half to thwart MP United.

TanHoldings was given an own goal in the eighth minute, while Kaithlyn Chavez scored in the 27th minute for the team’s 2-0 advantage at the end of the first 30 minutes of play.

Ian Song then broke MP United’s silence with his goal right in the first minute of the second half, but that was not enough to spark the team’s rally, as TanHoldings hung tough on defense to keep the precarious lead.

MP United 8, NMI U15 0

Before losing its season debut in the co-ed U13, MP United managed to enter the win column in the opening of the boys U19 division competition last Friday.

MP United walloped the NMI Boys U15 National Team behind the hat trick of Oliver Lee, who lit up the board in the eighth, 69th, and 73rd minute. Skyler Poon added two goals, while John Michael Rojas, Joshua De Leon, and Kaden Church contributed one apiece.

TanHoldings 1, Kanoa 1
In the other match in the division, TanHoldings forced a draw against Kanoa.

Kohtaro Goto hit the equalizer in the 65th minute, while Sebastien Manabat scored nine minutes earlier to hand Kanoa the slim lead.

Roselyn Monroyo | Reporter
Roselyn Monroyo is the sports reporter of Saipan Tribune. She has been covering sports competitions for more than two decades. She is a basketball fan and learned to write baseball and football stories when she came to Saipan in 2005.
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