Etheridge, Shrock and Lucena to miss dream game vs Beckham & LA Galaxy

By Jonas Terrado

Playing against one of the greatest players on earth is certainly a privilege – a great honor – even though it’s just going to be an exhibition match.

It’s a rare opportunity that missing that game is like missing your first date.

So it’s very unfortunate that goalkeeper Neil Etheridge, Stephen Schrock and Jerry Lucena will miss that very special day when the Philippine Azkals battle David Beckham and his LA Galaxy squad on Dec. 3 at the Rizal Memorial Stadium.

Coach Michael Weiss said the three won’t be around because of their earlier commitments with their professional clubs in Europe.

There’s no way the Azkals could beat Beckham’s Galaxy unless the newly-crowned MLS Cup champions decide to play – for the fun of it – with only one eye or with just eight players instead of 11.

Even Weiss rues the wasted opportunity.

“That’s very unfortunate,” said Weiss. “As much as I support and want this game coming, it would have been better if I have the professional players with me so that we could show that we can play on a higher level.”

Fil-German Roland Muller, who did a fine job despite the Philippines’ dismal showing in the Southeast Asian Games, could fill the void left by Etheridge.

However, Muller is also doubtful, according to an insider.

“Hopefully, Roland will come but he’s not 100 percent,” said Weiss of Muller, who also plays for German Division II club MSV Duisburg.

Among those sure to play are Phil and James Younghusband, Chieffy Caligdong, Ian Araneta, Chris Greatwich, Rob Gier and Anton del Rosario. Team captain Aly Borromeo will not suit up because of the ACL injury he suffered in the United Football League.

The Galaxy leaned on a 72nd minute goal by Landon Donovan for a 1-0 victory over the Dynamo at the Home Depot Center in Carson City, California.

That gave star David Beckham his first title on United States soil.

Meanwhile, the Philippine Football Federation Congress will be held today at the Astoria Hotel in Pasig City with Nonong Araneta expected to receive a fresh mandate as president.

The Philippine Football Federation, along with past and present National team coaches, is hoping to forge an agreement with the German Football Federation in terms of developing the country’s grassroots program. Published in Manila Bulletin