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.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

UFL Tuesday night: Global vs. Kaya -- "The Next Game"

The next game
For Kaya to realize its championship aspirations, they had to win this one and not the next game.
by rick olivares/ global pic by brosi gonzales

After a beat down and a draw last league, Kaya collectively said, “We’ll get Global in the next game.” And that game was last night. Not in the upcoming Smart Club Championships or the league. But in last night's quarterfinals match of the 2012 UFL Cup at the University of Makati.

If you cannot beat a team using certain tactics then necessity is the mother of invention. Foregoing their traditional 4-3-3, Kaya went with a more traditional 4-4-2. With a twist.

Kaya head coach Kale Alvarez started Anton del Rosario up front with Eric Dagroh. Del Rosario who has this penchant for joining the attack and not tracking back immediately was now upfront where his speed and toughness were hoped to give Global’s defense some problems. And boy, did this do wonders for Kaya. With Eric Dagroh terrorizing Jerry Barbaso and Ange Guisso and Anton running support they looked dangerous!

The options of a short ground game. Note the support formation and spacing that is crucial to moving the ball forward. This was a play that Kaya ran to near perfection in the first half of play.

It was bold and it was a masterstroke as Kaya outplayed Global for large stretches of the first half. They formed small triangles on the pitch and got their short game going. Their aggressiveness along with the banged up University of Makati pitch forced Global to play the long ball.

With Kaya threatening, Global looked out of ideas when the long ball was stopped. Yet for all the talent of the defending league champions, it is sometimes easy to overlook their intelligence for the game.

During the pitch inspection over an hour and a half before kickoff, the Global players walked around and looked for favorable spots on the field. They noticed that a certain area inside and outside the box of the western goal (nearest to the bleachers seats and the school parking lot) was flat and largely undamaged from use. Head coach Dan Palami told his squad that if they were unable to attack from the wings then they should drive the ball up the middle.

Global isn’t the first squad to notice Kaya’s weakness between the middle and final thirds. In a recent friendly match between Kaya and Pachanga, the latter team felt that Kaya’s defenders tended to sag in the face of an attack in the middle. The result of that match was a one-sided encounter in favor of Pachanga.

That is why one of the Kaya midfielders should play in a stopper position. Lexton Moy and Eddie Mallari did their best to plug this but I am not sure if that was their orientation for the whole match. Izzo El Habbib, Carli De Murga, Denis Wolf all unloaded from that undefended area. Even the run of Demetrius Omphroy came from there that is why he was in a perfect position to slam home the rebound of his first volley.

On Global’s defensive side, they held even without the suspended Val Kama and the injured David Basa. Kaya threatened but they could never get off a shot inside the box. It took a long-range volley by Eddie Mallari from some 40 yards out to beat Roland Sadia and equalize right before the end of the first half.

The equalizer was huge and it gave Kaya the impetus to further attack. Unfortunately for Kaya, when they shifted to a higher gear – by bringing in their substitutes – their attack stalled. None of the second half substitutes made an impact on the game. A sub is supposed to be an impact player who can energize the team. Think of what Angel Guirado brought to Global last year or what Jake Morallo brings to Loyola whenever his coaches decide to bring him in.

The speed that Dagroh (who cramped out of the match) and Del Rosario brought to the match was instead replaced by a slow prodding line. I also thought that when Alu Kigbu was brought in he should have played high to continue the defensive pressure. Instead he was at the right wing where he faced defenders as fast as he was.

Palami noticed that the relentless pace that made Kaya successful for most of the match was faltering. With Kaya’s players tiring and the subs not functioning, Global sent up more players to join the attack leaving only two central backs to deal with any threats.

The pressure worked and in the early minutes of the first overtime period, Misagh Bahadoran who had been mostly checked up to that point was instructed to carve a swath right through the middle of the defense. He did just that and was surprised that Jason Sabio gave him some space. Bahadoran dribbled a little bit more then blasted a shot before Anton del Rosario could tackle him. The shot dipped right under the arms of Kaya keeper Saba Garmaroudi for a 2-1 Global lead.

That was massive and nearly left Kaya dead in the water; the fight somewhat taken out of them.

I was surprised that Kaya never plugged the hole outside the box. And I was more surprised that even in the last 10 minutes of the second extra time period, they did not send more players to the attack as they preferred to play small ball rather than dump the ball inside and pressure Sadia. They had shown creativity in their game plan, but when it was crunch time, they reverted to a slower attack that they ultimately paid for. Kaya’s inability to score goals by the bushel-load clearly hurt them once more. That and not having the injured Sea Illif and OJ Porteria whose speed and daring would have tremendously helped.

And the way it looks, Global has taken Kaya’s best shot in the last two years standing. As for the next game – for Global? Why it’s the semifinals.


Notes: If you bothered to venture over the Kaya side of the grandstand where they had a huge streamer/poster with pictures -- those were pictures of Kaya's past title teams. Pro basketball player Asi Taulava and rugby player Eric Tai watched the match last night. It was Asi's first football match and he came there as a Kaya supporter. "It was my first football match and definitely not my last. I had a great time. So this is football? I love it," said the Big Fella. A crowd of over 3,500 watched the Global-Kaya q'finals match last night at UMak. Last night's match underscored the depth of Global. Their second squad can start for other teams. How about that?

No comments:

Post a Comment