A different Philippine team took the pitch when the Azkals faced off against Indonesia Tuesday night. Familiar faces Neil Etheridge and Phil and James Younghusband remained glued to the bench, as coach Hans Michael Weiss played around with the lineup.
“We are using these opportunities to test several options,” Weiss said. “We know what they are capable of doing, but we need to test these options if they get injured.”
Star striker Phil Younghusband, who scored for the Azkals in the second half to tie the game, said he didn’t mind the benching.
“Coach is trying out different players,” he said. “We were one man down and we were still present. We showed the authority and aggression against them.”
Weiss was particular on his choice of the starting goalkeeper for the match, as he put Roland Mueller between the sticks. After Mueller kept a clean sheet by not surrendering any goals in the first half, Weiss replaced him with Etheridge, who conceded two goals to the Indonesians in the second half.
“We can strongly rely on him, he’s our number one goalkeeper,” Weiss said of Etheridge. “But what happens if Neil is not there?
“We have a couple of options and we found a good one.”
But Etheridge did not seem happy with his benching. Just hours before the match, the Fulham goalkeeper took his frustrations to Twitter.
“Upset and disappointed from all angles,” Etheridge wrote on one of his tweets. “Just disappointed I won’t be starting today.”
Weiss, meanwhile, assures that the team will definitely improve after all of these adjustments.
“I can promise 100 percent that this will be a good team,” Weiss said.