Guam star AJ DeLaGarza took pride and personal satisfaction in his team’s historic victories in the 2018 World Cup and 2019 Asian Cup joint qualifiers this month.
Team Matao, ranked 174th by FIFA, pulled off two surprise results and drew worldwide plaudits as they defeated Turkmenistan 1-0 and then dispatched India 2-1 the following week.
Those victories were the first ever for Asia’s smallest nation on their home soil, and the LA Galaxy defender believes that Guam have shown that they’ll be a force in qualifying campaign.
“It’s a small island and it was just the beginning of what we can do. It was the first time that we had our team together,” the 27-year-old told Galaxy Insider.
“We’d been integrating players for the last couple of years but everyone has always been scattered, and this was the first time we’ve really played.
“I think for the most part, we did decent and handled the games well. We got two very important wins for the country and now we’re looking like we could – and should— advance.”
This year is only the second time Guam have attempted to qualify for the World Cup, the last being in the 2002 cycle when they lost two matches by a combined 35-0 against Tajikistan and Iran.