East vs West
H'View ride west for RSPL return-leg semis against MBU
IF it were in the UEFA Champions League, Montego Bay United would certainly have the edge over Harbour View scoring two away goals, but that's not the case here in Jamaica, so it's all squared heading into the return leg of their Red Stripe Premier League (RSPL) semi-final match at WespoW Park starting at 3:15 pm today.
In the first leg at the Compound on Wednesday, Harbour View blew a two-goal advantage and were pegged back in an exciting 2-2 draw, setting the stage for an enthralling second leg to decide the first team into the final set for May 19.
Montego Bay United, formerly Seba United, are the lone standard bearer for Western Jamaica and head coach Dr Dean Weatherly has urged the fans to provide 12th man support for his team as they try to utilise their home advantage.
"There is always the extra man, as I would call it, so we definitely have to implore all the MoBay fans to come out and let their voices be heard," said Dr Weatherly.
With Portmore United relegated, Montego Bay United are the only team outside of the Corporate Area capable of capturing the $2.5-m winning prize, but will have to be at their best to deny the defending champions a spot in the final.
The likes of Dino Williams, Omar Gordon, Allan Ottey, Lesly St Fleur, Fabian McCarthy, Keneil Kirlew, John Barrett, captain Dwayne Ambusley, Ladale Richie, Cordel Simpson and towering goalkeeper Jacomeno Barrett will have to play out of their skins to contain the well-oiled Harbour View machinery.
The mercurial Jermaine Hue made a long-awaited return to action in the first leg after a nine-month suspension and acquitted himself quite well in a fast-paced game. Assistant coach Andrew Hines is hoping their playmaker can rediscover his touch and pull the strings in the vital midfield area.
"He still has some more time, it's not the Jermaine Hue whom we are accustomed to, but we saw some sparks of the Jermaine Hue that we expected. So come Sunday we expect to see a little more and we are hopeful," said Hines.
Harbour View boast arguably the best backline of the league with four players who have represented Jamaica in recent times in Kemar Lawrence, Dicoy Williams, Montrose Phinn and Xavean Virgo.
But they will have to do without captain Phinn, who picked up two yellow cards in the first leg and will miss the game.
However, in Christopher Harvey, the 'Stars of the East' have adequate replacement and along with the likes of Joel Senior, John Ross Edwards, Nicholas Beckett, Keith Kelly, if needed, will be aiming to dominate the key midfield area and provide the necessary support to strikers Damion Harwood and leading goalscorer Brian Brown.
If there is no winner at the end of regulation time, then there will be extra time and penalty kicks if needed to decide the first finalist of the Red Stripe Premier League season.