AZKALS Development Team coach Scott Cooper lauded a brave stand by the club against pre-tournament favorite United City in the opener of the 2020 Philippines Football League (PFL) brought to you by Qatar Airways.
Cooper’s squad dropped a 1-0 decision on Wednesday.to United City, whose core is made up of remnants of the Ceres-Negros FC team that bagged all three league titles since the inception of the league in 2017.
“A 1-nil loss for a team of kids that not many of them play professional games against proven Azkals and proven foreign players and to push them close at the end to the point where it looked like it’s going to end up 1-1. I’m really proud of them,” Cooper said.
The match was also tension filled with UCFC star Stephan Schrock seen in several heated verbal exchanges with his younger opponents.
Cooper was proud that his players withstood the physicality, but the English coach admitted ADT paid too much attention to it.
“It’s very easy for the young players to get bullied and we didn’t allow that to happen. But maybe, we concentrated on not getting bullied more than we should be playing,” said Cooper.
“While we stood up to the physical and verbal confrontation, at the same time, we didn’t mix that with quality football. That’s the difference in the second half. We pushed them back, we pressed them, we had chances,” said Cooper.
More than the result, Cooper said he is focused on the development of the players being groomed as future Azkals players.
“We are not really focused on the result. I’m proud of the result but I think the boys had a really good performance and showed development in the game. They stood up to people and they showed that they weren’t going to be intimidated and bullied,” said Cooper.
ADT gets another test from Kaya FC-Iloilo on matchday two on Saturday, 8 p.m.