'Coach vs Coach'
Bernard anticipates tactical masterclass as Harbour View meet Cavalier in JPL semis
Cavalier's Collin Anderson (left) vies for the ball with Waterhouse's Elvis Wilson during a Jamaica Premier League match at Waterhouse Stadium in April. (Photo: Naphtali Junior)
BERNARD...I think it was just too easy for Humble Lion to penetrate us as they did (Photo: Observer file)

Defending champions Harbour View meet 2021 winners Cavalier in leg one of the Jamaica Premier League (JPL) semi-final on Monday night and both teams will have to quickly forget about their Lynk Cup defeats on Friday.

Cavalier lost 0-2 in the final to Portmore United, while Harbour View finished fourth after losing 0-1 to Dunbeholden in the third-place play-off match.

Harbour View Head Coach Ludlow Bernard and Cavalier Technical Director Rudolph Speid have both stressed on numerous occasions this season that they have had to manage small squads to get this far into the season.

But Speid says while it may be tough to quickly recover from a game only three days before, he is confident they can do so because his squad is young.

"They're the youngest professionals in the world," Speid told the Jamaica Observer recently. "That will help us a lot. Their recovery will be quicker than a team that would've been older. If we see that there are players that are a little leg weary, we'll replace them. We'll never be able to replace the usual suspects because our squad is just about 20 now, but we'll be able to replace some of those and just manage the minutes.

"We know that the first leg is what will be important to manage because we'll get a week to recover for the second leg. So all of those things we have in mind and we understand what we have to do."

Bernard expects a tactical battle, describing the game as being "coach versus coach". While he says the loss on Friday would not have bothered him too much, he was paying attention to performances to see what line-up he should put out against Cavalier.

"It was important that I got certain players on the pitch," Bernard said after the Lynk Cup game. "Whenever we go into the other games, going forward, I need to know what I have in store. It's very obvious that young [Casseam] Priestly is not up for it yet, but there are a couple of others out there who really did stand out and who I would've expected."

Bernard has been rotating with goalkeepers Romario Palma, David Martin, and Anthony Bennett this season and who gets chosen between the posts on Monday is not yet certain. But Palma impressed against Dunbeholden and Bernard took notice.

"His presence on the pitch and his performance are very critical to my decision," he said. "I think he did fairly well and he's full of confidence, but any number can play on Monday."

This game kicks off at Sabina Park at 5:00 pm.

The other game sees Theodore Whitmore's Mount Pleasant facing Paul Davis's Arnett Gardens at 7:00 pm.

Arnett will be the fresher team heading into the game, having received a bye into the post-season because of their strong preliminary-round performance and an early exit from the Lynk Cup.

Mount Pleasant, however, advanced after two gruelling games against Dunbeholden in the JPL quarter-final.

Mount Pleasant has a wealth of resources in attack to call on, including Atapharoy Bygrave, Jourdaine Fletcher, and Trivante Stewart as well as Ricardo Morris, Demario Phillips, and Kevaughn Isaacs bringing stability to their midfield.

However, Arnett has potency of their own in JPL veteran Fabian Reid as well as Kimani Arbouine and Revaldo Mitchell in midfield. Up top, they will be relying on Shai Smith and Rushike Kelson for goals.

Rachid Parchment

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