“We’re not a lucky club, we don’t get a lot of luck,” Loyola Meralco Sparks head coach Simon McMenemy remarked following his club’s 6-1 loss to current league leaders Ceres-La Salle FC, last Saturday on opening night of the United Football League (UFL) Division I’s second round action.
The Scottish mentor concluded that their opponents’ brilliance with the ball killed them during the game. “Individual errors cost us across the back. Every time we’ve had an error, they scored,” he pointed out. Loyola initially seized command of the match with Bradley Grayson starting his league debut by netting at the 18th minute before helplessly conceding six unanswered goals. McMenemy noted the English striker’s determination up front. Indeed, Grayson got himself involved in most of his team’s chances. Unfortunately, they only found the back of the net once.
While declaring his team did not have luck on their side, McMenemy did not fail to give credit to Ceres, who he thought have raised the bar in Philippine club football. “Ceres were a much better side than us today,” he observed. Despite missing Phil Younghusband and Anthony Putrus-Schnell to suspension, he believes Loyola was still capable of inflicting damage to the recharged Ceres squad led by Bienvenido Marañon’s hattrick. “If we can’t match that, then we don’t deserve to be taking points,” he commented.
Following the devastating result, he asked his players to choose between fight and flight. “We go away, lick our wounds, come back, and understand that there’s something to play for or we capitulate and have fun for the rest of the season,” he added. With seven more games left in the calendar, the Sparks remain in the hunt for the league title. Their chances, however, dwindled as their most recent defeat allowed their opponents to coast eight points away from them.
Further highlighting their lack of fortune, the Sparks are due to play two more games in the next five days. Amidst a turbulent period, McMenemy is hopeful that his players will respond positively to preserve their title challenge. They will get an instant opportunity tomorrow against strugglers Team Socceroo.