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, November 5, 2012

Military teams continue to take a battering in UFL Cup

Military teams continue to take a battering in UFL Cup
by rick olivares

It was a night where a couple of sides salvaged a measure of pride while a couple of others wallowed in that sinking feeling.

Team Socceroo, the squad that had given up the most goals in the group stages of the UFL Cup with 21, finally kept a clean sheet while piping Navy, 1-0, at the Ascom Field. The win allowed Team Socceroo to close out its otherwise dismal campaign on a high note and to stay a little head above waters. Socceroo finished fourth place in Group C while Navy sank to the bottom with a 0-0-4 record.

Jude Duruachazie claimed the winner for his beleaguered side in the 58th minute sending the Team Socceroo bench erupting in wild cheers. It was disappointing for Navy that not only dominated possession but also shots on goal. Team Socceroo’s defense was a lot more compact and goalkeeper Jay Avellana was stellar at goal turning back eight shots leveled at him.

In its maiden UFL appearance in last season’s cup, Team Socceroo advanced to the knockout stages with a 2-0-1 record. Once there, Kaya booted them out with a 2-0 win.

The club is in a rebuilding stage losing many of last year’s regular to other clubs like Global and Pachanga.

Making it a double whammy for the military teams was Air Force’s surprise scoreless draw with Sta. Lucia in a match played at Nomads Sports Club. The ousted cup champions were expected to pour on their fury at Sta. Lucia, the brother team of Stallion that booted them out a week earlier with a masterful 5-1 win.

Instead, the frustration has continued with this proud club that has struggled in the face of massive changes in the Philippine club football scene. Air Force, like its brother military teams Army and Navy do not have the financial resources to compete with the more moneyed clubs nor do they have the appeal they once had they were the favored destination of the country’s best players. Because of the nature of the military teams where they can only field players who are indoctrinated into military service, they are at a huge disadvantage. The rise of club football has provided a handsome alternative to what was once strictly a military option in furthering one’s football career. Furthermore, they also have the option of signing the cream of foreign talent that has migrated to the UFL.

Air Force’s opponent, Sta. Lucia is one such club that has followed the formula. They are a team composed of players from Iloilo, Manila, and the Korean community. Against the airmen, Sta. Lucia surprisingly owned possession just a wee bit more and didn’t trail too far behind in shot attempts. Air Force started out its usual eleven but not even the presence of national players Chieffy Caligdong, Ian Araneta, and Neckson Leonora could lift them to victory.

Air Force ended its second consecutive disappointing performance (including last year’s league campaign where they too surrendered their title to eventual winner, Global) with a 1-2-1 slate for third place in Group D. Sta. Lucia also finished with the same record but placed fourth because of a slightly inferior goal difference.

Navy too has been blown out of the water as they finished last in the last two years running but paid for it last season when they were relegated to Division Two. When the league season kicks off in January of 2013, Navy will be playing in Division Two where it will have to fend off challenges from a stronger Cebu Queen City United, Laos, Team Socceroo, Sta. Lucia, and General Trias.

Only Army, the last military team standing, advanced to the next stage of the tournament, the knockout round where they are awaiting their opponent.

1 comment:

  1. So has General Trias officially been accepted to Division 2 the? Who will they replace? Sunken Garden or Manila all Japan?