Originally published by Sports Interactive Network Philippines
THE PERFORMANCE of the Azkals Development Team during the Copa Paulino Alcantara 2021 revealed that the next generation of up-and-coming talents have the potential to shape the Philippine football scene in the succeeding years.
After all, they reached the finale last season, an impressive feat that was undercut by a 1-0 loss to a dominant Kaya FC squad. It could be argued that ADT could’ve actually won that game as they had their opportunities to score.
But with ADT's performance in CPA 2021, it made sense for Kaya to snap up four ADT members — Mar Diano, Oskari Kekkonen, Jarvey Gayoso, and Sandro Reyes — into their roster.
And their arrival could further boost Kaya’s chances to win back-to-back CPA trophies.
Their newest additions would boost Kaya FC's possession
ADT’s biggest asset last season was their possession play as the team looked calm and composed in moving the ball across the pitch.
The individual pieces all played their part in maintaining the team’s possession.
Mar Diano has always been a rock at the defensive end, but his impact even goes beyond that as he has always been crucial in ADT’s build-up phase. While other centre-backs would struggle in moving the ball forward, Diano cherishes the role of delivering precision passes especially to Kekkonen.
And there’s a reason why Kekkonen is a priority option for ADT. As a deep-lying playmaker/regista, Kekkonen is lauded for his ability to connect the dots from deep. He can combine his long range passing to complement the wingers or fullbacks, or rely on his short passing game to build rapport with the other midfielders like Sandro Reyes.
Speaking of Sandro Reyes — he's a solid contributor in the vein of Kekkonen in keeping the ball for ADT. However, his impact is highly felt on the midfield and attacking third. While Kekkonen would pull the strings from deep, Reyes is more of a chance creator in front of goal.
Then there’s Jarvey Gayoso, who made everything possible with his overall movements. Gayoso has always been known to support his teammates as he can be seen dropping deep or moving to either flank, creating passing angles for his teammates.
More tactical options for Kaya FC
But besides enhancing Kaya’s possession play, their latest acquisitions could diversify Yu Hoshide’s tactical prowess.
With Jovin Bedic and Robert Lopez Mendy both capable of outmuscling their opponents and create goal-scoring opportunities, combined with the passing from Sandro Reyes and Oskari Kekkonen, Kaya can switch to a more direct play. Kekkonen can launch long balls, while Reyes can deliver through ball attempts.
But the tactical fluidities aren’t just limited to a sudden shift in gameplan as Hoshide could utilize the multi-role assets he has. As in his stint with Ceres-Negros, Robert Lopez Mendy could switch to the flanks and capitalize on his speed and strength to create matchup nightmares, forcing opposing teams to overcommit, which in turn will generate more open spaces for Kaya to exploit.
And if that’s not enough, Hoshide can deploy Jarvey Gayoso across multiple positions. Besides being a forward, Gayoso can be a winger, or, if the situation calls for it, he could be used as a full-back or a defensive option on the wide areas similar to how Jose Mourinho used Samuel Eto’o against FC Barcelona.
With so many options at his disposal, Hoshide might have the tools to help Kaya secure key victories against the likes of United City FC and Stallion Laguna. Will the Iloilo-based squad go back-to-back?