The CNMI Boys U15 National Team flaunted their defense during their penultimate game in the East Asian Football Federation U15 Boys Tournament after holding Mongolia to a scoreless draw last Friday in Xianghe, China.
“The boys went into the game motivated and determined to win. It’s no secret that Mongolia is definitely the better team. But our heart, determination, and spirit gave us the fighting chance we needed to make it anyone’s game,” team manager Mikky Vargas said.
“Coach Mita (Michiteru) noted that our team’s defense has improved so much. Our players were very well organized, compact, and collective throughout the whole game. It was because of their discipline in staying collective that we were able to stop many of the opposition’s scoring opportunities. He also noted the improvement in our transitioning from defending to attacking. We saw their confidence in receiving the ball and keeping possession within the team even if there was high pressure from Mongolia,” Vargas added.
With the Teen Ayuyus managing to transition their game from defense to offense, they were able to create opportunities to score.
“One of our shots hit the cross bar, while another one floated right on top of the cross bar,” the team manager said.
Mongolia, which entered the match against the CNMI with a win (versus Guam, 4-2) to its credit, remained persistent in the second half, hoping to find a lapse on the Teen Ayuyus’ defense, but was repeatedly frustrated.
“Mongolia fought back, but our team stayed collective and organized. After playing against our groups ‘giants’—China and Japan—the boys used that painful experience to strengthen them for this game. Every single person on the field worked for this result and the team is super excited to bring such awesome news to their family and supporters back home,” Vargas said.
In shutting down Mongolia, the CNMI went to its usual starting 11—goalie Jonathan Mindaoa, captain Taka Borja, Daniel Pablo, Oliver Fajardo, Rintaro Miyawaki, Brian Lubao, Razeff Altamirano, Brandon Tenorio, Rinto Takahashi, Ian Maniago, and Reginal Pascual. Floyd Muna, Jon Villagomez, John Ezekiel Canape, Jason Quimzon, and Merrick Toves were the substitutes.
Meanwhile, the Teen Ayuyus faced Chinese-Taipei in their final game in the tournament last Saturday and held their opponents to four goals. Chinese-Taipei scored six goals against Mongolia before facing the CNMI, which opened the competition with a 1-0 win over Macau.