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, February 20, 2013

Broken arrow: dissecting what's wrong with Green Archers Utd as Global sends them down the relegation zone

Global sends Green Archers down the table
by rick olivares

The good vibes are officially over.

The stark reality for Green Archers United is that they are wallowing rather unexpectedly at the relegation zone of the UFL standings with a 0-3 record. Dominic Mensah is missing. Ayi Aryee is on the bench. Dan Ito has not performed to expectations. Chieffy Caligdong has stopped scoring goals. Nikko Villa, their former starting midfielder who could be of help, is with Forza. And the sanctions resulting from their on-field brawl with Kaya have yet to be served.

Relief can’t arrive soon enough as not even the return of number one keeper Patrick Deyto was enough to stem the tide. Maybe when striker Jon Melliza suits up for the next match.

For now, they’ll have to really dig deep to find the wherewithal for the mother of all comebacks especially after that ghastly 5-1 beat down handed by Global.

Green Archers tried to be a little inventive with Arnie Pasinabo playing target while Chieffy Caligdong was moved to the middle with Tating Pasilan and Jovanie Simpron to the left and right wings respectively. It’s a great arrowhead pointed towards foes and they looked good for a few minutes before Global figured out how to guard them and systematically went about erasing their midfield.

The secondary composed of Patrick Reichelt, Ben Starosta, Yu Hoshide, and Carli De Murga hounded the ball carriers. GAU’s insistence on bringing up the ball as opposed to the slick one-touch passing espoused by Global spelled their doom. When they resorted to long balls the taller Global players simply headed the ball out of harm’s way or to teammates to launch a counter.

With possession now ensured, Global sent wingbacks Jerry Barbaso and Jeffrey Christiaens on the overlaps with team captain Hoshide playing a stopper role while effectively distributing the ball to the middle or the wings.

In one devastating four-minute spell, they seized control with a pair of goals.

In the 11th minute, they pilfered the ball off Reynald Villareal in the right wing. The ball was worked towards Izzo El Habbib inside the box. The Sudanese striker turned and fired but the ball was blocked and it founds its way to Carli De Murga who was lurking outside in support. His volley from 25 yards out struck central defender Lawrence Ikegwuruka then ricocheted in for the game’s first goal.

Four minutes later, GAU midfield Shapay Johnson lost the ball to Global counterpart Ben Starosta who immediately launched a counter offensive. Villareal fouled Startosta from some 21 yards out. Not too difficult for El Habbib who free kick cleared the wall and struck the inside of the net for an incredible 2-nil lead.

Archers looked to have found its spark with the halftime entry of Sean Lee for Ito. Lee immediately made his presence felt by completing his first four passes.

In the 49th minute, Lee found Johnson inside the box who in turn slipped the throughball right through the defense leaving Pasilan to go one-on-one with Global keeper Roland Sadia who had no chance. Two-one, still Global.

Seven minutes later, Starosta knocked down a long cross into the front of the goal where El Habbib merely had to poke the ball in for a 3-1 lead that restored the two-goal advantage. The quick response was reminiscent of the previous week’s result where GAU labored for the equalizer against Kaya only to get killed eight minutes later with a late match winner.

Archers tried to immediately respond but Global’s defense held.

In the 60th minute, Jeffrey Christiaens’ blast from outside the box was booted in by a cutting Patrick Reichelt for an insurmountable 4-1 lead. The final nail in the coffin was a long-range volley from substitute Marvin Angeles in the 84th minute that closed out the scoring at 5-1.

The win catapulted Global to the top of the standings with a 3-0 slate while idle Stallion and Loyola remained at second and third respectively due to the goal difference.


BROKEN ARROW: Dissecting the problems of GAU

When I saw Sean Lee play with FEU two years ago, he was clearly a gem in the Tamaraws’ midfield. One reason why he thrived on that team was their relative unselfishness. That FEU team can pass the ball like no one’s business. When Lee joined GAU I thought that the UFL would see the kid’s skill. But Archers' system is a bad fit. Lee thrives on playing the central midfield role where he needs the ball to be effective. He assesses the situation in a second, makes a pass then runs the space. On GAU, they are predisposed to wing play with wingers like Tating Pasilan, Arnie Pasinabo, and Chieffy Caligdong. I can see him get frustrated when the pass isn’t coming.

Once upon a time that solid wing play could win games. Air Force made a living out of that. But local club football is growing. Clubs are getting better as is the coaching. Clubs that espouse multi-faceted attacks are now winning and that’s Global and Stallion.

The Archers’ offense is predictable if not one dimensional. The smaller Emperador Field will not help them. In Rizal Memorial Football Stadium, they can afford to send Pasilan down that line where he would use his speed to beat defenders. Not on a smaller field where it is easier to catch up and close him down.

In fairness to them, they have attempted to be creative by moving players around but it has been mostly ineffective. Will giving Lee the ball more change their fortunes? Of course not but quick central midfield play will sure help. To illustrate that point, I would like to point out how Global carved out GAU.

Global played those small triangles anchored on a central midfielder or a forward. That’s how they moved up the ball. They ran it repeatedly with GAU having no clue how to stop it. They knew what was coming but couldn't stop it. Love Arvin Gaspe but he was alone trying to stop three Global players! 

Pundits may point out to Global’s list of national players as the main reason for their success. I will agree to a point but look at how they have won – they have always had smart players manning the middle – Boyet CaƱedo, Angel Guirado, and now Ben Starosta. Players who can make that pass. The unsung hero in this club’s success is Yu Hoshide.

Most people would watch the wing play and the attack, I look at the how the offense starts. When it isn’t a quick counter, they like the methodical build up that starts with Hoshide. His ball distribution makes him integral to Global’s attack. I made note of this and Dan Palami told me that he was happy I noticed that (but I shouldn’t tell GAU). I threw the idea to Nomads’ Jeff Blake and he concurred. Hoshide’s importance in yesterday’s game – he was a rock in the middle when GAU slipped past Starosta and De Murga then he would bring up that ball allowing Jerry Barbaso and Jeffrey Christiaens to link up on the overlap.

I thought that GAU’s stubborn insistence on holding the ball and lacking link ups in their attack was their undoing.

They were better defensively before with Dominic Mensah playing in the back alongside Lawrence Ikegwuruka but whatever the reasons for the former’s disenchantment with his playing time or offense, it has hurt Archers defensively.

Playing Pasinabo up front hasn’t really helped in the last two matches. Midway through the Global match, they switched with Chieffy Caligdong playing the target. The problem for Archers is that they weren’t pressing Global. There wasn’t any pressure on Palami’s side when they went about their offense. They were practically handed the keys to the car. They did whatever they wanted on the pitch.

I mentioned Nikko Villa who previously started at center for GAU but has since been sent down to Division Two with Forza. It has backfired with the ineffective and disappointing Dan Ito. And I feel that GAU has not seen the best of Lee’s talents. He showed that in the Smart Club Championships and the UFL Cup where he worked well (to a certain degree with Ayi Aryee who is now riding the bench over what the club says are misplaced priorities).

It is easy for Global when they have a talented scoring machine upfront named Izzo El Habbib but if he has no one to supply him that ball up front then he isn’t getting his name on the score sheet.

It’s time for GAU to take a long hard look at how they run their offense (or even practice their defense that I heard is sorely lacking). They really need major help in the March transfer window. But they cannot wait because they will be mired deeper in the relegation zone.


With much respect to GAU.


  1. GAU is struggling. But I think the main problem is center midfield , the got Tating , Chieffy and Manok . this three are the quickest players on UFL. I can see that the center midfield failed to find this three and the midfield is "destroyed" by global ( the ball always gets taken away from the central midfield )

  2. GAU is very predictable. They always go to the wing especially on cheiffy's side. A change of Coach is definitely needed.

  3. well pointed out. there is definitely a need for GAU to build the ball from the middle with ground passing, LEE ARYEE PASINABO and OLOWOYEYE are a good fit for them in this area. Ito is still new he needs time to blend in! for now, stop the short cut long balls! very convenient but predictable. they should build the offense by having possession in the middle and gradually attacking in numbers. coming from a former GAU player! Animo!!!