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

UFL Division II: Queen City United leaves Laos searching for answers

Queen City United leaves Laos searching for answers
Cebu Queen City United 2 vs. Laos 0
by rick olivares

February 5, 2012
University of Makati

After a hot start, Laos, one of the teams seeded to contend for the UFL Division 2 title, has hit the skids. They lost to Socceroo 1-nil last week then this Sunday, playing once more in a big field (the University of Makati), Laos (2-0-2) floundered against the vastly improved Cebu Queen City United 2-0 to fall from third in the standings to fifth place.

Ironically, it was Laos that nearly opened the scoring when in the very first minute of play, Omar Hassan Ali set up William Diaz for a shot coming through a back heel. But Diaz fired straight to Cebu keeper Charles Villarta.

Then as if a switch was flicked on, Cebu took control of the midfield as they went on the attack. The Visayas-based club had three chances to score in the next six minutes.

I thought that Laos did not read the game well as they had initial success attacking from the left side of the pitch against Marion Cubelo and Adlai Rivera. Instead, they tried to force the issue on the right with Aaron Altiche making solo runs up the right flank with nary support.

Laos’ midfielder kept losing the ball such that in the 34th minute, they replaced Ernani Regis and Franco Borromeo with Perfecto Tabale Jr. and Al Patlunag. The moves somewhat stabilized their midfield play .

Queen City on the other hand displayed better build-ups however, their finishing left much to be desired. Junard Aguilar was particularly guilty if not maddening. He made shockingly poor decisions in his finishing. You’d like your forwards to be predators. Instead, Aguilar would hesitate and stop running on the attack.

Laos made its subs 10 minutes into the second half as the Angeles twins entered the fray. But they were no less effective as they were unable to feed striker Reggie Jukes who was wasting energy running up and down the field to help out.

In the 57th minute, Cebu’s Jan Michael Flores crossed the ball inside the box to Aguilar but Laos right back Rolly Lear blocked the ball and much to his team’s horror, the ball took a bounce and spun – very much like the Stallion goal against Air Force’s Tats Mercado – backwards and over the outstretched arms of keeper Oliver Moreno and into the back of the net. Own goal and an unlikely 1-0 lead by Cebu.

Own goal or not, the goal had come after Laos had made four changes to its starting unit.

In the 76th minute, following another Cebu cross inside the Laos box, defender William Diaz and goalkeeper Moreno both hesitated when the ball landed between them. Cebu’s late sub Rommel Cuizon pounced right in and booted home the insurance goal.

Compounding Laos’ woes was Patlunag’s inability to finish such that Laos made a third change in the striker position when Vincent Gambana replaced him. But Laos was so dispirited at this point that they committed another blunder when Rolly Lear took down Cebu midfielder Neil Ryan Lirio with a knee to his thigh. Referee Waling Bermejo did not hesitate in sending off Lear with a red card.

Cebu Queen City United won 2-0 to go to 1-1-1. What won this for them was hard work. They were quicker to the ball and more aggressive. They had better build-ups and passing. Plus, the substitutions were timely.

Laos’ midfielders have to do a better job in feeding Jukes. Their chances were largely because of individual forays that were oft stopped by the Cebuanos. But now comes the hard part as the Angeles brothers will be departing for Italy soon further depleting their bench. And Laos has yet to play Pachanga and Diliman.


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