Despite defeat, Philippines forges encouraging start

Philippines women’s soccer team vs Wales in the Pinatar Cup. –CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Coach Alen Stajcic praised the effort shown by the Philippines women’s soccer team despite absorbing defeat amid unfavorable circumstances to kick off the Pinatar Cup on Wednesday (Thursday Manila time) in Spain.

“We don’t like to lose and we’ve talked about it before, but I’m very happy with what we did tonight,” Stajcic said after the Philippines’ 1-0 loss to Wales in the Spanish town of San Pedro del Pinatar.

A penalty awarded before half time led to the disappointing result, but Stajcic preferred to see how the ladies performed.

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Although Kayleigh Green scored from the penalty spot for the only goal of the game, goalkeeper Olivia McDaniel held her own under the posts, while Stajcic praised Dom Randle for his defense despite allowing a tackle that led to the penalty.

“Considering we’re in pre-season and the opposition right in the middle of their season, jet lag, we’ve had delayed flights, we’ve had players sick and players come to camp really late, that was an incredible effort, probably one of the best in terms of effort,” Stajcic said.

“We face players in [England’s Women’s Super League] and some of the big clubs too, so it was a great effort and the team showed a lot of discipline defensively,” he added as the Philippines now focused on Scotland on Saturday.

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Forward Sarina Bolden is expected to play in the team’s second match in the tournament as part of the Philippines’ preparation for the FIFA Women’s World Cup. Bolden and midfielder Jaclyn Sawicki recently arrived, leading Stajcic to leave both players out.

The Philippines will conclude on Tuesday (Wednesday Manila time) against Iceland.

“There’s a lot to look forward to in the week ahead and hopefully we can refresh the squad… and see how we do against Scotland, who are as good or even better a team than Wales,” Stajcic said.

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