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.

Friday, February 8, 2013

How Stallion broke down Green Archers United

How Stallion broke down Green Archers for their 3-1 win
by rick olivares

Thursday, February 7, 2013
Rizal Memorial Football Stadium
Stallion got off the UFL season to a thunderous start with a 3-1 win over Green Archers United. Prior to kickoff, Bob Guerrero and Ryan Fenix asked me how I saw this match and the one after, I felt that Stallion and Pachanga would win the matches (more on the latter later).

Stallion is no longer the Illongo club it was once. Sure they have three mainstays from the original squad in Wilson Muñoz, Ruben Doctora, and Bervic Italia; you can even make a case for the Korean players as being from Central Philippine University in Iloilo City but this club really reflects the changes in modern football. They merely followed suit with Loyola, Diliman, and Green Archers that can no longer simply be alumni based teams if they want to win. Leave the UAAP to the UAAP. Modern pro football, semi-pro if you will, is a totally different animal.

Having said, that Stallion got better. They added size and heft in German-American Jeremy Hohn and Australian Jessy Martindale (who Balut Doctora brought over to Manila as the Aussie is marrying a cousin of his). That allows Joaco Cañas, their rock at centerback to drift to the right to deal with the speedy wingers like Tating Pasilan or even Chieffy Caligdong who was unavailable for the match (due to a late arrival from national team duty).

In the meantime, I still think and this game makes a case for it how GAU’s midfield is in shambles. They have talented midfielders but the insistence on the wing play makes them predictable. Without Caligdong, the only play was to go to Pasilan who made one early run, went by one, two defenders but went no further.

And with all due respect to GAU’s coaching staff, they were blindsided by  Ernie Nierras defensive wrinkle with an unorthodox 3-6-1 formation that was further designed to clog that already suspect midfield that saw Ayi Aryee banished to the bench because of poor play and suspected misplaced priorities.

There was already a mistake in the starting eleven when Arvin Jay Soliman started in place of Reynald Villareal and GAU’s coaches rectified that error but not after they conceded a goal. Had Martindale, who made good choices with his forward or square passes put more oomph into those passes then Stallion would have been more frightening?

The early offensives of Stallion placed Archers in a more defensive nature. And they fell right into the trap of Nierras. And I don’t think GAU read what they were trying to do.

On the set play, it began with Cañas making a decision where to put the ball in play. Usually it was to Rufo who would place himself in the middle. He'd turn and make a decision on where to send it. If he put the ball down, the wingers would run up. Boley and Doctora would give him space to operate. There was a lot of terrific passing in the attacking third of Stallion.
Archers shockingly stayed behind the line of their defensive half. Stallion sent their midfield past Archers’ line. The Stallion defenders would move the ball around the backline waiting for Archers to move up and attempt a half-hearted press. The moment they did, Joaco Cañas would send a forward pass to Rufo Sanchez, the pivot on the midfield. It was more often than not a well-placed pass. When it was obvious that Sanchez would seize control of the ball, Martindale (later Bervic Italia) and Park Bo Bae would run up the flanks. Sanchez had four options:
- Send a diagonal pass to the wingers
- Make a short pass to Prince Mark Boley (a huge pick up for Stallion and is a big loss for Kaya) or Ruben Doctora who were on either side of him. That would make the defense switch and leave someone open. 
- The Archer defenders would have to make a quick decision – follow Boley or Doctora or leave Sanchez free. The midfield defense of Archers was crucial here to marking the attackers but they did not. 
- They had the option of playing one-two or even three touch passing here.

That saw Rufo score inside in the 29th minute and later, the flick of Doctora to Boley for the second goal in the 38th minute.

When Archers became aggressive in the second half (Stallion relaxed somewhat as well), Simpron scored a great goal to come within one. But they still allowed Stallion to dictate the pace.

There were moments when the ball needed to go to the center mid where Lee would ask for the ball but it always went to the wings that was shut down for the most part.

Archers are on the verge of putting it all together but they really need to take a better look at the game plan. In fact, the second match between Kaya and Pachanga, mirrored somewhat the play of GAU.

This is a damn good football team and they will turn things around. As the coaching staff said yesterday, it's one game but they cannot take another early loss.


  1. I think the only Korean players from Central Philippine University left on the squad is Lee Jo Young , . Notables koreans who is not in the line up is Nam Yeul , Pi Young Jae , BJ Yoon .

  2. Love the match analysis! Hope to see more of this when our nationals play.

    And yeah, the sketch made it a lot more interesting.