Photo: Marcel Gayle is one game away from taking the UWI FC into their first ever Red Stripe Premier League final in just their second season in the league.
Both the University of the West Indies FC and Portmore United FC are expected to lay it all on the line this afternoon when they face off at 3pm the UWI Bowl for the chance to play against Arnett Gardens in the finals of the Red Stripe Premier League.
UWI leads the tie after scoring a 2-1 away win and will be confident of wrapping up victory at the UWI Bowl which had virtually been a fortress since they came into the league last season. However, they go up against a Portmore team that returned to top flight football just last term and went all the way to the final, where they lost out to Montego Bay United.
Since the first leg, Portmore has travelled overseas to participate in the CFU Club Championships while the UWI has been inactive and this may affect them, especially after it did in the first leg due to a similar situation of inactivity.
Portmore will be looking to pounce on UWI, and this time, maintain the advantage in a game where they must score two more goals than their opponents to advance. Coach Linval Dixon will be hoping his forwards report with their scoring boots on, unlike the last time where they were guilty of missing easy chances.
While the onus will be on Portmore to score goals, the UWI only needs to match what Portmore does to reach their first ever RSPL final.
The pressure will be on the first time semifinalists UWI to stop the likes of Ricardo Morris, Javon East and Ewan Grandison from controlling the game and getting the result for Portmore and this is where the experience of former Premier League winner, Keammar Daley will come in.
Daley was massive for UWI at the Wembley Centre of Excellence and will need to play a similar role today. UWI Vice captain Amal Knight has been one of their players of the season and the goalkeeper will need to be at his best once again today.
The experienced Girvan Brown got UWI’s equalizer in the first leg after his team trailed early and will be hoping to guide his unit to a place where neither he nor his club has ever gone before.
“Getting into the final is very important. After we lost to Portmore and Humble Lion won the million dollars, I think that it took a toll on the team, but right now we are steadfast in winning this second leg. I have been at Cavalier, St. Georges, Arnett but I never came to this position yet,” Brown explained.
UWI head coach Marcel Gayle has lots of experience in this league, but as an assistant coach at Waterhouse FC. If he should take the UWI into the final for the very first time, it would be a massive feather in his cap.
At least 90 minutes stands in the way of these two teams and a date with destiny. It will come down to who wants it more.