MANILA, Philippines - Loyola Meralco Sparks leaned on super sub Freddy Gonzalez as it downed Army-General Trias International, 4-1, to seize solo second place and move closer to First Division pace-setter Global FC at the start of the third round of the United Football League at the Emperador Stadium Saturday night.
Fil-Brit Phil Younghusband, a mainstay of the Phl Azkals team, shattered a first half scoreless deadlock by heading in a goal on a spectacular cross by Roxy Dorlas to open up the scoring for the Sparks early in the second half.
Just up by one, Gonzalez came off the bench to finish what Younghusband started and unleashed three goals that crushed the spirit of the Armymen, who were hoping for an upset after an excellent first half effort.
“I’ve been telling myself that it’s not up to the standard I normally would like to play. I’m pretty much my biggest critic. I was really sick and tired of playing bad,” said Gonzalez, who scored his second half threesome in just a span of 15 minutes.
In the other match, Pachanga PLDT Home Fibr ended a string of seven straight winless skid with a 6-0 bashing of a listless Team Socceroo.
The first goal came when he cashed in on James Younghusband’s through ball and then headed in a Paolo Bugas cross for his second goal.
Gonzalez capped his excellent performance by converting a short pass by Bugas again.
Already felled, Army-GTI consoled itself with a goal after Joaco Canas gifted John Cain with a rocket on the 78th minute.
“It’s good to start the third round this way. This was a very important match for us so that we change our frame of mind coming in from the rest of the second round. The second half (against Army) gives us a glimpse of again how we can turn the game around and how we should be playing for 90 minutes,” said Loyola coach Vince Santos.
“I think that the League is very much wide open still, anybody’s ball game. as long as we do our job we still have a chance,” he added.