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, February 6, 2012

UFL Division II: Pachanga vs Dolphins A textbook classic on why teams should never be overconfident

Boyet Cañedo unloads at the Dolphins goal.
A textbook classic on why teams should never be overconfident
Pachanga 3 vs. Dolphins 2
by rick olivares

February 5, 2012
University of Makati
The match between Pachanga and Dolphins is a Textbook classic on why teams should never be overconfident.

Every team needs a gut check. And Dolphins United were just the right one for Pachanga that has been pacing the UFL’s Division II with three wins in three matches. The Red Phoenix’ coaching staff and team owner/striker Freddie Gonzalez have been warning about how an opponent can easily pip them. So far they have marked Diliman and Laos as clubs that will contend for promotion.

Prior to their match against Dolphins, the Red Phoenix saw Laos waylaid by the vastly improved Cebu Queen City United, 2-0. The previous evening, erstwhile Division I leaders Stallion figured in a scoreless draw with Pasargad. The UMak pitch has become a graveyard for title favorites and a springboard for the upset-minded. Pachanga hoped they wouldn’t fall prey.

Do not leave one central back on defense.
From the opening whistle, Pachanga went on the attack while Dolphins opted to stay back while looking very much like a team that wasn’t fit. But one through ball by Dolphins and the central back duo of Yves Ashime and Camelo Tacusalme were caught napping. The one player from Dolphins who seemed fit enough, midfielder Jerome Cuyos, split the two Red Phoenix defenders and forced Pachanga goal keeper Kenneth Dolloso to foolishly come out a little earlier than one would like. Cuyos effortlessly slotted it into an empty net and in only the sixth minute!

Clear the ball properly or focus, Ken. Focus.
After Pachanga took the lead 2-1, Dolloso’s clearance of a passback lacked purpose and conviction. A Dolphins midfielder intercepted it and sent the ball to the right wing Tim Clemente who raced forward. Clemente’s cross inside the box was sent back out. Clemente, standing very close to the touchline from some 30 yards out fired once more toward the goal. Dolloso was still not back on his line and that prompted Pachanga right back Aldwin Riedler to cover for him. Incredibly the ball dipped towards the goal and Riedler kicked it back out. But the linesman ruled that the goal had gone in despite the vociferous protestations of Dolloso. That made it 2-2. That wouldn’t have happened if he had gone back to his position and cleared the ball properly.

The problems of being a goal down
The problem with conceding a goal early is that it changes one’s game plan. More so when you are held scoreless, such as Pachanga was, after 45 minutes of play. The Red Phoenix dominated possession and unleashed a barrage of shots that the Dolphins keeper, Bernard Lelis, steadfastly turned back. In their eagerness to pull back the one goal deficit at the half, Pachanga was rushing their shots. Dolphins on the other hand was content to leave striker Greg Calawod on top for those long balls while maintaining a holding pattern.

The danger for Pachanga in playing squads like this is that they can park the bus and try to hold on to that one goal lead. Luckily for Pachanga, this was the big field at UMak and not the smaller Turf at BGC. Or else…

There are a couple of tactics when trying to get a team to loosen up its defense. One is to move the ball around to look for openings. The other is to give the opponent an opening to think they can go on the counter where they will commit players to the attack.

Going for the kill
Pachanga did both and Boyet Cañedo who had three excellent chances to score in the first half finally saw his side draw level with a header in the 58th minute after he was targeted by Freddie Gonzalez’s free kick from 20 yards out. Gonzalez has been most impressive in his amazing comeback to competitive football. And this while playing with a slight injury!

The pressure lifted and Dolphins finally pressured Pachanga’s midfield. And once that happened, Pachanga found even more room to operate. Jalsor Soriano booted in Pachanga’s second goal off a nice turn and volley in the 68th minute.

Two minutes later, Clemente’s lucky shot saw his side draw level and the bus was parked again.

You could see how upset Gonzalez was as Pachanga got ready for the reset. Seven minutes later, midfielder Ousseynou Diop set up Cañedo for a fantastic strike from 25 yards out that punctured the bus and settled into the back of the net to make it 3-2.

It is a luxury for Pachanga to have depth in every position. They know they have a damn good football team and this match against Dolphins will serve them a lesson about taking teams lightly.

I do not know how the UFL management works but I would like to venture forth that there should be a program on how the other clubs can be sustainable. While not every club has money, the distribution of national players is not equitable. Some clubs have a monopoly on these players and it is not good for the league. There should be a way to help the other clubs become more competitive. 

I thought that this was incredible. There were about 20 fans in the UMak stands rooting for Pachanga. Three had "I love Pachanga" t-shirts. Woah! Not bad for the new club.


  1. Rick,

    This is not new. Most leagues in the world have clubs that dominate because they have the finances to get the best players. The only way you can even the odds is to institute a salary cap system and a single entity system, like in MLS. They were able to do this because other leagues in the US have this precedent already. This concept will not work anywhere else where a promotion/relegation system exists like ours. So unless we take that away, which I don't think is a good idea, we will have to get used to seeing a few teams getting the best players.

  2. Thanks for the game breakdown, very eye opening with relevant observation on skill distribution in the UFL. I am afraid it will just be like every other league. Some got money some down. Its a shame really.

    On a brighter note, more on Freddy!!

  3. FYI - Dolphins United FC is no pushover team. Dolphins Utd was no.4 last season in the 2nd Division and has beaten no.3 Pasargad FC twice last year.

  4. No disrespect meant but they finished last in their group in the UFL Cup. And right now prior to the Pachanga match, they had two points from three matches. They knew what they were up against and they parked the bus. As for Pasargad.... they have all sorts of problems.

  5. Watched the game. Pachanga is really strong team, their bench is also strong as their 1st 11. They are paid high salaries just to play so no excuses for them not to win. It will be a big blow for them if they didnt win that match, a major upset was prevented. Freddy Gonzales was frustrated with his players in that particular game. He put a big investment on his team. Diliman will spoil their party, even Laos will give them a big headache.

  6. Each club should take it upon themselves to find ways to increase their fan base. Relatives and friends aren't just enough these days. Each club should actively market their team to put warm bodies in seats during UFL games. If they do this getting sponsors won't be that hard and that opens up new opportunities for the club.

  7. goodluck PACHANGA FC..more power negros and iloilo footballers

  8. "they parked the bus". That is how the Azkals won over Vietnam. Dolphins United gave Pachanga a hard win, 2-3. Dolphins United shall overcome.