Nodley Wright, Sunday Gleaner Writer
Normally, in football it is an outfield player who takes centre stage in a game but on the odd occasion it is a goalkeeper who steals the show. The feature encounter in the Red Stripe Premier League between defending champions Portmore United and the Promoted Cavalier Football could be ripe for one of those situations.
Cavalier goalkeeper Gariece McPherson could be that man. The 23-year-old who has already been capped at the national level shares a lot of the credit for Cavalier's excellent performance in the Premier League with Claudious Blackburn. While Blackburn was scoring at one end, McPherson was preventing goals from being scored at the other end. McPherson's excellent form steered Cavalier to a seven-game unbeaten run including a 2-1 win over Portmore United in the second round and ensured that they earn a place in the end of round final.
We had to win
In that second-round game against Portmore United played at Ferdie Neita Park, McPherson's former stomping ground, the goalkeeper was like a man possessed as he was the difference between his former and current clubs.
"I had just one thing on my mind - victory. Losing was not an option. We had to win," McPherson told The Sunday Gleaner at the end of that game.
"I was so focused for that game that I spoke to no one. I did not leave the changing room until it was time for me to get in the goal," he added then.
If McPherson reports in a similar frame of mind and is backed up by his teammates, then Portmore United could fall to their third successive loss to Cavalier. The defending champions though cannot afford for this to happen as there is too much at stake.
"For us it is about going out there to get three points," Portmore United coach André Waugh, whose team trail leaders Harbour View by 10 points.
"Harbour View are already out there in front, but also we have not beaten this team all season. This team has taken six points from us over the last two meetings, so it is an opportunity for us to really go out there and demonstrate the quality that we know we can display against this opposition," explained the man who started out with the club as physical trainer.
He added: "At an organisation such as Portmore there is a lot of pride and reputation at stake and for us it is always about going out there and demonstrating that you don't get to be five-time champions and defending champions without a lot of work. You don't build that reputation overnight and it is for us to continue to defend that reputation."
For that reputation to remain intact, Portmore United will have to start scoring again. Alanzo Adlam has not looked his sharpest of late and will have to report in better finishing form to capitalise on the chances that the likes of Kevin Deerr will create.
While his team has had the better of Portmore United all season, coach David Lalor knows that a positive result for his charges is not a given.
"Portmore is a good team, so not because we have got the better of them in latter games, they have good coaches. The team that wants it more and is more focused will come out on top," Lalor said.
5 p.m: Cavalier vs Portmore United - Stadium East
6:30 p.m: Montego Bay United vs Tivoli Gardens - Catherine Hall Complex
3 p.m: Savannah vs Harbour View - Frome Sports Complex
3 p.m: Sporting Central vs Highgate United - Brancourt
6 p.m: Waterhouse vs Boys' Town - Drewsland Stadium
9 p.m: Arnett Gardens vs Humble Lion - Anthony Spaulding Complex