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.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Preview of Global vs. Loyola 2012 UFL Cup semis

Clash of the Titans
A preview of the Global-Loyola semifinals match
by rick olivares

No football team has so dominated local football in recent memory like Global. They have a UFL Division One and Two title, a UFL Cup, a Smart Club Championship, an Alaska Cup – am I missing out on anything?

This football club plays on both sides of the field and excel at it. The score goals by the busload and also are mean stoppers on defense. And just when you think that they could not get any better this new season they become just that. What makes them even more frightening is they are deeper and can field two top quality sides. They have hardly missed a beat even without Angel Guirado who traded Chickenjoy for Tandoori chicken.

The one glitch in the Big Yellow Machine was their scoreless draw with General Trias although much of their squad wasn’t available as they were on national duty.

They’re up against Loyola Meralco Sparks who have everything to prove. The Sparks defeated and drew with Global last season but that’s hardly any consolation as the eventual champs were also incomplete for the first fixture while they drew with Loyola in the second.

The Sparks are a much better team this year after this particular team’s first full year together. Furthermore, they added three crucial pieces to their squad in Chad Gould who can switch from defense to offense, PJ Fadrigalan who will plug their hole at right back, and Jang Jowon, the Singapore-based Korean who is superb in the midfield.

No doubt, Loyola is a talented offensive team but as recent UFL history has shown, offense does not solely win championships. It’s defense. So it’s the UFL’s top-rated defensive side up against the to-offensive side. Something is going to definitely give but whichever team has the stingier defense will win this.

Roland Sadia (Global) vs. Ref Cuaresma (Loyola)
Sadia stepped into Global’s lineup to replace Jerome Etoundi who filled in magnificently for the injured Paolo Pascual. And Sadia is a Lou Gehrig in the making. For those who do not know their sports history, Lou Gehrig took the place of Wally Pipp as the New York Yankees’ first baseman in 1925. Gehrig kept the job for 14 years. Of course, it might be incredulous to say that Sadia will play that long but the point is, he has quietly and efficiently become the best goal keeper in the UFL. He’s got a great sense of timing and those elongated arms of his help in stopping even the most powerful of strikes!

Cuaresma is good but his venturing off his line has seen opposing teams make him pay for it. Unfortunately, so has Loyola paid for it. How he plays his line against a very aggressive Global front and middle line will be crucial. How he marshals the defense is just as important.

Advantage: Global

Jerry Barbaso, Carli de Murga, Ange Guisso, and Juani Guirado (Global)
PJ Fadrigalan, Chad Gould, Min Ho Park, and Roxy Dorlas (Loyola)

The hallmark of Global’s game has been defense and speed. Their defense has that and height as well. They will be missing the suspended Val Kama and the injured David Basa who has played well this season. But as we said, they are deep. They can even insert Patrick Reichelt in the back and they will still not miss a beat.

Barbaso and De Murga are pillars on defense and they will be leading Global.

Loyola has added two crucial pieces in Fadrigalan and Gould both stout defenders. It will be easier for the two to communicate as Kim Woo Chul who also played centerback is gone after his unhappiness over playing time.

As good as they are, the defense is still suspect as they tend to make boners once n a while. Against Global they will have to be absolutely perfect and resilient. If they can hold the line they will give their forwards a sparkling chance to win.

Advantage: Global

Demetrius Omphroy, Yu Hoshide, Jeffrey Christiaens, and Marwin Angeles (Global)
Anto Gonzales, Mark Hartmann, James Younghusband, Jang Jowon and Byeong Yeol Jeong (Loyola)

Global has speed on their side as they like to make those diagonal passes and quick cuts. They work hard and track back on defense and that helps delay the counter attack. Once they get close to the final third they are plenty dangerous.

Loyola prefers a deliberate build up and when they are able to retain possession, they are good. The key here is for Mark Hartmann to be on top of his game. If he is filling in the spaces, making those superb curling free kicks of his, and if he is able to contain the middle, then Loyola has a chance of upsetting Global. It would help too for James Younghusband to manage his temper. If he is on his game like he was against Nomads Loyola is difficult to stop.

Advantage: Loyola

Dennis Wolf and Izzo El Habbib (Global)
Phil Younghusband (Loyola)

Wolf has not really played well in the cup. El Habbib is one however that you cannot take lightly as he can hurt teams in a variety of ways. El Habbib has difficulty against the taller centerbacks such as Kaya’s Kross Ubiam but he finds ways to beat the goalkeeper. If Loyola can keep him outside the box then they would have done their job.

Phil… still the best goal scorer the country has seen. But am not enamored of him being the lone threat up front for the Sparks. For Loyola to get goals, Phil will need attacking support from Jeong and Hartmann not to mention his brother.

Advantage: equal

The battle will be at a near standstill. I mentioned that defense is the key here but I would like to make a case for the coaching. How one adjusts is the key to victory.

And of course, who will be officiating. Will it be the card happy referee or the one who allows a lot of extraneous stuff to go on.

I said earlier that for Kaya to defeat Global they will have to play the game of their lives. The same applies to Loyola.

1 comment:

  1. GLOBAL is the real deal. Singapore should invite them next year in their Singapore Cup.