Getting a medal at an APAC tournament is not easy, you have to be really good and have a little tournament luck! This team (I think) is the best we have taken to an APAC competition, a solid defence that does not concede many goals, a skilful and competitive midfield, quick wingers and an even quicker attack line up . We started the tournament against our previous nemesis SAS Pudong and put them to bed with a 3-0 win playing super football and sending a warning to the other teams that we were not here to make up the numbers. Our 2nd game was against CA (who lost their 1st game) and we started poorly and basically were out muscled for every 50-50 ball, it was our worst performance of the tournament, losing 2-1 and now life was becoming more difficult.
Our 3rd game was against SFS and we were still asleep going down 1-0 at half time , but we came back out a different team (same as against SAS PD) and hit 3 super goals to dominate the 2nd half and win 3-1. Our 4th Game was a monster game against hosts HKIS who were unbeaten so far. We had previously drawn 0-0 in China cup a few weeks earlier and had prepared well for this game. We had a few lapses in concentration and HKIS punished us to win 1-0, it was a tough loss but we were still in the tournament as other results were helping us.
On the final day the mission was clear, we needed to beat UNIS to go through to the final and play HKIS. Nothing else would do. We started well and went up 1-0, and were in control of the game. UNIS scored with 2 mins to go to tie the game 1-1 at half time. We did not panic and continued to apply pressure, but UNIS only needed a draw to go to the final and parked the bus and we could not get through the minefield of players to create further chances. The game was tied and for the 2nd time in recent APAC, UNIS stopped us going to the final.
The 3rd place final was a rematch against CA and this time we were fired up and played a much more competitive game, both teams created chances but the game ended 0-0 and a penalty shoot out. The shoot out was tied after the 5 penalties and went to sudden death and once again the luck of the gods was not with us and we lost to finish 4th overall. How a team this good has won nothing this season (4th Tri-Cities, 3rd China Cup, 4th APAC) is criminal, the team worked incredibly hard, especially for our 4 seniors, Maika, Dani, Finja and Julie.
Most of the squad is returning to WAB next year, the JV squad has improved and we have some strong G8 players moving up to HS next year, so although it feels doom and gloom now, actually , the future is bright for this program.