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.

Friday, December 2, 2011

No sleep ‘til the Azkals-LA Galaxy kickoff

No sleep ‘til the Azkals-LA Galaxy kickoff
by rick olivares photo by brosi gonzales

Philippine Men’s Football National Team midfielder Emelio “Chieffy” Caligdong said that if he were to score a goal in the friendly match with the visiting Los Angeles Galaxy in the friendly match this Saturday, he thinks that he won’t be able to sleep.

However, judging by the massive reaction the Major League Soccer team received yesterday when they arrived on a chartered plane inbound from Indonesia, it’s the rest of the Philippines that won’t be able to sleep a wink with kick-off a little more than a day away.

Azkals team captain Aly Borromeo who will be unavailable for the match as he is recuperating from a knee injury could not contain his excitement about meeting the American-squad. “Can you believe what has happened in a year’s time?” he gushed after the press conference held at the Makati Shangri-La. “I would watch them on television and when I am in the United States and now they’re here. I won’t be able to play but sitting beside David Beckham and Landon Donovan in the press conference is good enough.”

The Galaxy’s flight to Manila was delayed for while and the players seemed a bit tired. However, during the cocktail party thrown by organizers at Conway’s Bar at the Makati Shangri-La, the team led by head coach Bruce Arena was most gracious in answering questions and posing for photographs. “It’s been a fantastic reception that we’ve received from the Filipino people. The people have been warm and very friendly,” noted Arena who aside from piloting the Galaxy to the 2011 MLS Cup also once coached the US National Football Team in the 1996 Atlanta Olympics and the 2002 and 2006 World Cups. “And they definitely know their soccer. And this tour of Asia helps put a stamp to the Galaxy and MLS brand across the world. We’ve heard so much of the Philippines and it will be good to see what it has to offer. I hope our schedule permits that.”

In the press conference held earlier in the evening, the Galaxy’s star midfielder David Beckham, who looked a bit exhausted by the long trip from Indonesia said, “We had a difficult game yesterday (the LA club won 1-0 over the Indonesian national team). Our legs haven’t come back yet. We expect the game to be difficult. We know there are talented players here. But we want to win the game no matter if it’s a friendly.”

In a quick interview during the cocktail party, Beckham also said that he is still undecided whether to re-sign with the Galaxy or go back to Europe with French Ligue 1 side Paris Saint Germaine of where reports have it that the English football star is offered a whopping €15 million for a mere 18-month contract. While a move to the City of Light places Beckham closer to England where he hopes to don the Three Lions kit in next year’s London Olympics for one last stint, the move is also a potential landmine as he is endorsing adidas while PSG is outfitted by Nike. “I’ll make that decision when before the year’s done.”

Should the England football icon choose to cross the Pacific all the way to France, the 36-year old Beckham will be reunited with PSG’s Brazilian manager Leonardo for whom he played with in 2010 during a loan spell with Italian giants AC Milan. “There’s always a lure of helping a club, any club, win.”

When I informed him that he won silverware in his final year with Manchester United, Real Madrid and the Los Angeles Galaxy, Beckham offered a smile. “That’s the clincher. You want to win as much as you can.”

Galaxy team captain Landon Donovan also expressed a desire to play the Azkals of whom he’s heard much about from a club official of Filipino origin. “We’ve heard so much about what’s going down here and we’ll just try to do our best.”

Justin Pearson, Donovan’s agent who is along for the trip, expressed concern about the team getting some rest. “We all thought that when people said Asia that all the countries were close to one another. But it’s a four-hour-plus flight from Indonesia and another nine-hour ride to Australia. Everyone’s eyes were bulging! But they’ll come out and be competitive.”

Added Arena: “We expect to play 100% and we look forward to a real competitive match.”

The Carson, California-based Galaxy will hold a football clinic from 1:30-3:30pm at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium then practice for their match tomorrow from 3:30-5:30pm. After the Saturday evening match with the Azkals, the Galaxy will fly to Melbourne, Australia, the last stop of their three-city Asian tour before returning to the United States.

1 comment:

  1. Who would have ever imagined that roughly 1 year after having water bottles fly at us at the Bung Karno, Rizal Memorial would be hosting a match against the LA Galaxy? Amazing stuff for Philippine football.

    Quite jealous I am not in Manila to watch it live. Would've been a perfect one year loop for me, haha!