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.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Analyzing the Kaya-Loyola game.

Analyzing the Kaya-Loyola game.
Loyola def. Kaya 2-0
by rick olivares with pics by tunying

February 4, 2012
Rizal Memorial Football Stadium
It was one of the most eagerly awaited match-ups this league competition owing to the incredible end to their semifinals tussle during last year’s cup competition.

For Kaya, it was about getting back at Loyola and re-affirming their title aspirations.

As I said during the live telecast, for Loyola it’s staying within striking distance of Stallion that has nine points in three matches.

Prior to kickoff, Toffer Camcam was penciled in a starting goalkeeper for Kaya as Saba Garmaroudi at first said he would be unavailable as he had a tooth extracted the day before. Kaya head coach Juan Cutillas was unhappy about that but what can one do when one’s tooth hurt like crap? Cutillas sat down Camcam who wasn’t really ready as he had been ill the past couple of weeks and had not played. But Saba arrived at the appointed call time and Cutillas gave him the green light to start.

Both teams had their similarities – they had beefed up their offensive capabilities. Kaya brought in Alu Kigbu and Joshua Beloya while Loyola had Yoshioka Taku and Byeong Jeong. I thought that Loyola’s defense has been suspect since Ruffy Narvaez went down with an ACL injury last cup competition. They did not really upgrade their defense and during their match against Stallion, they inserted Taku and Byeong on defense which is not their natural position.

At kickoff, Kaya opted to start with Eric Dagroh, Prince Mark Boley, and Joshua Beloya up front in a 4-3-3 formation (with Jonas Romero at left back instead of his usual left midfield position).

I thought that Loyola’s 4-4-2 formation would trump Kaya for one, they had an extra man to throw against the midfielders. And true enough, the Sparks stopped Lexton Moy, Eddie Mallari, and Masa Omura from dictating play. Every time a Kaya mid got the ball, one or two defenders swarmed him. On several occasions early in the game, right back Anton del Rosario had to go up and join the attack.

Loyola did to Kaya what Stallion did to them by being relentless to the ball. They challenged Kaya’s midfield. James Younghusband’s willingness to go up and down the pitch with Mark Hartmann dropping down to help spelled the difference. There was borne out of the loss to Stallion where Loyola had the brothers and Hartmann up high waiting for the ball that oft never arrived.

Davide Cortina was more active and on the ball than any other time this league competition. I felt he recaptured his cup form.

Without any inventiveness from the Kaya midfield, they were thoroughly discombobulated by the Sparks. With Hartmann spot on with his set pieces, Loyola got on the board in the 12th minute when James Younghusband rose above the pack to head in his fourth goal of the league. Hartmann later found Phil with a long forward pass that was misplayed by Kaya central back Jason Sabio who up to this point was a rock in the central back position. Phil’s deft flick doubled the Spark’s score and left Kaya in a hole. If there was any reversal of luck, it was not forthcoming in spite of Kaya going on the attack for the first 15-20 minutes of the second half.

And Loyola’s had a better semblance of an attack as they built up their offense from the back as opposed to Kaya finding opportunities on the counter.

The lack of build-ups aside, I thought there were three tactical mistakes on Kaya’s part.

One, was the 4-3-3 formation that limited killed their effectiveness. What makes Kaya fearsome is their speed and fast play. Without their midfield, there was no feeder for the three-headed forward monster. Loyola’s 4-4-2 clogged the midfield.

The second was putting Romero in the back that limited his effectiveness. While he somewhat stopped the explosive Jake Morallo, Kaya was sorely missing his runs up the left wing.

The third was subbing out Boley and Dagroh. While Nate Burkey was an excellent in finding his teammates (they somewhat dropped into a 4-4-2), Beloya could not find daylight to shoot. Kigbu who had come on as well in the second half did not have a shot on goal.

Although Kaya gained the momentum for about 20 minutes in the second half, their inability to pierce Loyola’s defense told on them heavily. There would be no rallies in reverse for Kaya as the Sparks had chances to score but some of the forwards forgot to pass again as they went on solo sorties instead of setting up teammates for a goal. I wonder on the telecast if that would hurt them down the road. Not just for the match but for the league. 

Garmaroudi was good but Sparks’ netminder Ref Cuaresma was great as he kept a clean sheet for the first time since the group stages of the cup competition.

So Kaya lost the match 2-0 leaving Stallion as the last remaining undefeated team (they figured in a scoreless draw with Pasargad in the last match of the evening). Maybe this loss will do for them what the Loyola’s defeat to Stallion did for them. It galvanized the Sparks. In succession, they beat two good teams – Global (4-3) and Kaya. That should right their ship but the fine-tuning isn’t done by a longshot. As good as they played, it is obvious that they are far from being a harmonious team yet.

Kaya: Eric Dagroh, Joshua Beloya, Prince Boley, Eddie Mallari, Lexton Moy, Masa Omura, Jonas Romero, Adrian Semblat, Jason Sabio, Anton del Rosario, and Saba Garmaroudi.

Loyola: Mark Hartmann, Phil Younghusband, Byeong Yeong, Davide Cortina, James Younghusband, Jake Morallo, Roxy Dorlas, Pat Ozaeta, Byung Park, Dexter Versario, and Ref Cuaresma.

Additional reading:
Analyzing the Pasargad-Stallion game


  1. Hey Rick, I hope you and AKTV can show game analysis and diagram plays during halftime and after the game to educate the fans esp aspiring players and coaches. thnx

  2. boss rick...UFL should have it's own AKTV center...halftime analysis and pundits would do....