MBU looking to push for play-off spot
TUCKER, St James — With the signing of seven players early in the January transfer window and the return of several others to the training squad, Montego Bay United’s Head Coach Nedier Dos Santos thinks his team will be contenders for a play-off spot in the Wray and Nephew Jamaica Premier League.
The two-time champions, who are in tenth place, will kick off their second-round schedule today when they host promoted and last-place Lime Hall Academy at WesPow Park, starting at 3:00 pm.
While keeping his plans close to his chest dos Santos conceded on Monday that former national strikers Jourdaine Fletcher and Owayne Gordon could force their way into the starting team today.
Also today, defending champions Mt Pleasant FA will be away to second-place Portmore United in a game that sees one point separating both teams; joint second-placed Cavalier SC take on an improving Harbour View at Anthony Spaulding Sports Complex; Tivoli Gardens are on the road at Waterhouse FC; while Treasure Beach will hope to end a long losing skid when they host Humble Lion at STETHS.
Dos Santos told the Jamaica Observer that while they have added “some quality players in crucial positions” they were mindful that some of the new players lacked match fitness.
The last two players, St Lucian midfielder Gregson President and Trinidadian central defender Josiah Trimmingham, arrived over the weekend and might not be involved from the start, but dos Santos said he has an idea regarding how he wants to line up his team today.
The Brazilian admitted there was some difficulty in deciding which 11 to start but conceded it was a problem that every coached wished they had.
“It is difficult. Now we have newcomers (some of them just arrived today) so the work is to try to find the best way to play [so as] to try to accommodate everybody, so that’s the most difficult thing. But, we’re confident.”
The fans, he said, can expect better football and a good result.
“We are in the beginning with this group; it’s a big change with the group. I would love to have more time with them but I think the quality is better and we’re gonna get a better performance and good result,” he said.
The coach refused to look past today’s game, however. “We cannot as a team think further than Wednesday [today]. We have to go play Wednesday and then think about the next one or two games coming up.”
MBU and Lime Hall Academy had played out a 0-0 draw in their first meeting but 11 points separate both teams. MBU are six points away from a play-off spot and Lime Hall are staring down the barrel of relegation with four points from 13 games, yet to win a game in their first year in the competition.
Portmore United have conceded a single goal in their last five outings, which were all wins, and face a Mt Pleasant FA team that has won three of their last five but have seen their lead, which was as high as six points, cut to one.
Mt Pleasant FA had won the first-round game 1-0 on opening day but will face a more confident Portmore United team that has gelled and are arguably the best team on form in the competition.
Cavalier have raced up the points tables and will meet Harbour View for the second time in weeks, after their first-round game was rescheduled as both were involved in the Concacaf Caribbean Cup competition then.
Cavalier had beaten Harbour View 3-1 and will start favourites to win today, despite Harbour View coming into the game with a two-game winning run, beating Treasure Beach and Dunbeholden previously.
Tivoli Gardens, who were surprised by Montego Bay United in their last outing, will hope to rebound against Waterhouse who they had beaten 3-0 in the first round.
Arguably the most improved team from last season, Tivoli Gardens will be harbouring ambitions of making it to the play-offs.
Waterhouse, who are in seventh place and just outside the play-off places, are coming off a win over Harbour View but have been inconsistent, winning two, drawing two, and losing one in their last five games.
Both teams playing at STETHS will be desperate for points. Combined, they have lost their last 11 games, with Treasure Beach losing eight in a row while Humble Lion have lost four of their last five games.
Montego Bay United vs Lime Hall Academy – WesPow Park 3:00pm
Portmore United vs Mt Pleasant FA – Ferdie Neita Park 3:00 pm
Waterhouse FC vs Tivoli Gardens – Waterhouse 4:00 pm
Treasure Beach vs Humble Lion – STETHS 3:00 pm
Cavalier SC vs Harbour View – Anthony Spaulding Complex 4:30 pm