Portmore, Arnett in top-of-the-table clash
It will be mostly about bragging rights when the top two teams meet in the Red Stripe Premier League (RSPL) at the Prison Oval in Spanish Town.
In action will be leaders Portmore United, who not only have the most points, but have scored the most goals, conceded the least number of goals and boast the league's leading scorer in Jovan East. They will host defending champions Arnett Gardens, the team that beat them in the final last season and the only unbeaten team left in the league this year.
Portmore United are going into the game with the best form. They have won seven of their last eight games, and the fact that they are playing at 'home' should make them the favourites. Coach Shavar Thomas is, however, playing that down.
AIMING FOR VICTORY
"Everybody is expecting end-to-end action, but to us, it is just another game in the table. We want to remain on top and we just want to get a positive result," Thomas said of the game before, adding that all that would be required for that to be achieved would be for them to keep doing what they have been doing.
Arnett Gardens, while they have managed to remain unbeaten, have only won one of their last five games and have drawn 10 of their 19. They have been finding it difficult to put teams away, and Jerome Waite is hopeful that his team will get it together today.
"We are hoping that, in terms of the offensive side of the game, we can get it going. The last time we met, we created more chances but were unable to get the win," Waite said, referencing their first-round encounter, which ended goalless.
Since the first meeting, East has struck a rich vein of form, which has coincided with their rise to the top of the league, and Thomas readily acknowledged his contribution.
"When you look at last season compared to where he is at now, he probably wasn't getting much playing time," Thomas said. "Him emerging as the top scorer now is really tremendous."
Besides East, Ricardo Morris, Maalique Foster, and the now-injured Jermie Lynch have been big for Portmore United.
For Arnett Gardens, the major contributors have been Fabian Reid, who is joint second on the goal-scoring chart, midfield standout Vishinul Harris, and captain O'neil Thompson, who marshalls the defensive unit. They will also have Kemal Malcolm to call on.
At Frome, Reno will be aiming to show that there is life after Craig Foster when they host UWI FC, while Foster will be looking to record his first strike for his new club Humble Lion and guide them to a win when they play away to Boys' Town, who are still rooted at the foot of the table.
Former champions Montego Bay United will be journeying to Santa Cruz hoping to get the better of the promoted Sandals South Coast who, like Boys' Town, occupy the relegation zone. Third-place Tivoli Gardens played to a 0-0 draw with Arnett Gardens in their last game and will be fancying their chances of returning to winning ways when they host the struggling Harbour View.
- 3 p.m: Reno vs UWI FC - Frome Complex
- 3 p.m: Portmore United vs Arnett Gardens - Prison Oval
- 3 p.m: Sandals South Coast vs Montego Bay United - STETHS
- 3 p.m: Tivoli Gardens vs Harbour View - Edward Seaga Complex
- 8:35 p.m.: Waterhouse vs Cavalier - Drewsland Stadium
P W D L GF GA GD Pts
Portmore 19 12 5 2 39 9 30 41
Arnett 19 9 10 0 34 16 18 37
Tivoli 19 9 6 4 21 12 9 33
Cavalier 19 8 6 5 20 15 5 30
UWI FC 19 6 7 6 22 23 -1 25
Waterhouse 19 5 9 5 16 21 -5 24
Reno 19 5 8 6 16 20 -4 23
MoBay United 19 5 6 8 16 15 1 21
H.View 19 5 6 8 12 13 -1 21
Humble Lion FC 19 4 8 7 15 20 -5 20
Sandals 19 3 6 10 12 29 -17 15
B.Town 19 2 5 12 14 34 -20 11