Someone asked me how my blog and newspaper column came to be titled "Bleachers Brew". It's like this, it's an amalgam of sorts of two things: The bleachers area in the stadium/arena where I used to sit when I would watch baseball, football, and basketball games and Miles Davis' great jazz album Bitches Brew. That's how it got culled together. I originally planned on calling it "The View from the Big Chair" that is a nod to Tears For Fear's second album, Songs from the Big Chair. So there.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Pasargad draws with Green Archers to enter knockout stages in style

This appears in

Pasargad draws with Green Archers to enter knockout stages in style
by rick olivares

October 29, 2011
University of Makati

Substitutions can either make or break a team.

When Kaya played Diliman it was the second half adjustments and entry of Anton del Rosario that changed the fortunes for the Juan Cutillas-mentored club that allowed them to win the match.

During the Sunday, October 23 clash between Pachanga and Global, the entry of Angel Guirado in the second half clearly changed the pace of the match for the latter and the two goals his side scored to draw level with Pachanga clearly had his imprint all over them.

And there was Pachanga-Queen City United match where Shirmar Felongco was lifted after 11 minutes due to an injury. Lagrimas scored a goal two minutes after that lifted the early pressure from Cebu that not only dominated possession but also kept attacking.

And there’s Green Archers United against Pasargad.

The alumni team of De La Salle University has had one of the top-rated defenses heading into the end of the group stage. Bracketed with Pasargad, Forza, and Dolphins United, the Green Archers made short work of Forza 5-nil and Dolphins 6-0. They were the sixth best goal scoring team with 11 heading into the match but perhaps more than the wins, it was an immense source of pride that the had kept two clean sheets. And in fact, were only one of three clubs not to have a ball go past the keeper (the other two are Nomads and Army).

On the other side of the pitch, Pasargad, the Iranian club that once featured a striker named Misagh Bahadoran, was in second place but in a tricky situation. They toted a 1-1 record after a 1-nil win over Dolphins and a 4-2 loss to Forza. They were tied with Forza at second but had the tie breaking owing to a better goal difference – negative one as opposed to the negative five of Forza. For them to advance they needed either a win, a draw, or if they lost to the group leaders, it should not be by more than four goals. Yet head coach Essi Sedigh remained optimistic of his team’s chances.

But once the game began, it was all Green Archers. With former national player Arnie Pasinabo and team captain Patrick Bocobo making run after run, it seemed that it was a matter of time before they scored.

All that was keeping Pasargad in the match was the netminding of Abdollah Golkhah who had turned back numerous strikes against him. Jay-Ar Inventor and Friday Uche did their best to mount attacks for Sedigh’s team but the defensive line of Jun Mark Saraga, Arvin Soliman, Reynald Villareal, and Luis Miguel Celdran drove them back.

Needing a spark, Green Archers’ manager Monchu Garcia who had taken over Adolfo Alicante who was unavailable for the match, replaced midfielder Kix Romero-Salas with Gung Villa on the right midfield. Romero-Salas is a very good midfielder but if he is unable to get going early then he is off his game. While Villa, who had just graduated from DLSU, brought in fresh legs and pace off the right flank, it was the introduction of Gerald Pacquiao, normally a starter, in the late stages of the match that galvanized their team.

Pacquiao, who starred for the University of St. La Salle in Bacolod and the National Capital Region team in the recent Under-23 national championships, was found by midfielder Shapay Johnson off a free kick and he outran his defenders finally beat Golkhah to give his side a 1-nil lead in the 63rd minute. Pacquiao would cause more problems for Pasargad on the left freeing up Pasinabo and Bocobo for more chances but the Green Archers were still unable to add a second goal.

Not soon after Pacquiao’s goal, Sedigh sent in midfielder Navid Khorsani for Uche. But after conceding that goal, Pasargad kept most of their players on their side of the field to prevent any more additional goals leaving Ruben Bioumla up front in the event of a counter attack.

Four minutes added to the match, Pasargad had one chance to steal a goal for a draw when they were awarded a corner shot. For the first time since the early part of the second half, Pasargad sent almost their entire team forward. The ball found Kohorsani in the box and the Iranian quickly turned and fired away to the second post past a diving Martin Villaflor.

Seconds later, the final whistle blew for a 1-1 draw and Pasargad qualified for the knockout stages.

Said a disappointed Monchu Garcia, “I think it’s our curse to given up late goals. Last year we gave up one to Navy and other squads. But we’re in and we just have to learn from this and play until the final whistle ends.”

Added Khorsani, “We knew it’s our last chance to score because it’s good to advance because of what you do on the field. We earned that point and it’s a good chance for Pasargad to enter the next stage.”

Notes: Green Archers keeper played behind Bob Lacaya for DLSU then started. He later returned to #2 keeper status when Patrick Deyto moved up from DLSZ. Another backup keeper for DLSU playing well in this UFL Cup is Jay Avellana who is with Team Socceroo. He was with the Green Booters team that last made the UAAP Men's Football Finals in 2006.

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