United City sign Pinthus in quest for seventh title

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United City sign Pinthus in quest for seventh title

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The loss of three influential midfield players will not deter United City FC from seeking a seventh straight top flight title in the Philippines.

Despite the departures of Manny Ott, who joins Malaysian side Melaka United, and both Joe Elmer Porteria and Dennis Villanueva, who headed to Thailand to link up with Ratchaburi Mitr Phol and Nakhon Ratchasima respectively, United City are not disheartened.

The club, which changed its name from Ceres to United City last July, recently announced the permanent signing of the Philippines national Under-23 goalkeeper Anthony Pinthus. And more players are expected to come in ahead of the season’s start in April.

The 22-year-old Pinthus kept three clean sheets in four outings with United City during his debut season on loan last year. His exploits earned him the league’s Golden Glove Award. 

“We still have a lot of quality in this team. We want to build a strong squad without breaking the bank,’ said the club’s CEO Eric Gottsdchalk.

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Besides looking for new players, the club have made it a priority to hold on to their two main goal-getters Bienvenido Maranon and Robert Mendy, and captain Stephan Schrock for the new season.

Since being promoted to the old Philippines League Division One in 2015, United City have never failed to capture the league title.

Last year, the rebranded team finished just one point ahead of the second-placed Kaya-Iloilo after the six-team 2020 season was shortened to a single round-robin format because of Covid-19 spread. The champions won four of their five matches, and lost 1-2 to Kaya-Iloilo.

In the AFC Champions League, United City (Ceres) made it to the third round of the preliminary playoffs after defeating Myanmar champions Shan United 3-2 and Thailand’s Port FC 1-0. However, they fell 0-2 to J-League’s FC Tokyo at the third hurdle.

The furthest they have gone in a regional competition was in 2017, when they emerged Asean zone champions after eliminating the likes of Hanoi FC (Vietnam), Johor Darul Ta’zim (Malaysia) and Home United (Singapore). The Philippines champions then went out in the inter-zone playoff semi-finals after going down 1-5 on aggregate to Tajikistan’s Istiklol.

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2021/06/24
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