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, March 15, 2013

Breaking down Stallion’s win over Pachanga-Diliman

Breaking down Stallion’s win over Pachanga-Diliman
by rick olivares

Stallion answered the heavy pressure brought to bear by Pachanga-Diliman with a crucial late second half goal by Rufo Sanchez for a 3-1 win that kept them in second place in the UFL standings.

In the very first minute of play, Stallion looked to grab an early goal when Sanchez blasted a 22-yard screamer than hit the crossbar then bounced past the line and out. The referee or the linesman didn’t see the ball cross the line despite the protestations of Sanchez and teammate Lee Joo Young.

With Lee directing traffic from the central midfield, Stallion threatened early.

Option #:1 With Lee Joo Young having his way in the central midfield, he had four players to pick out while remaining on side: central back Jason Cordova who would run up on the overlap, Ruben Doctora, and Sanchez who often drew two defenders, and Lee Won Hyung who as a result of the double team on Rufo would find himself open.

They will play it as the defense gives them. And that would create even more options.

Option #2: A two-man game between Lee Joo Young and Ruben Doctora Jr. Pass #1 Lee finds Balut cutting. Pass #2 Balut draws a crowd in Nathan Octavio and Andrew Santiago and passes back to Lee. Lee fires to an unprotected Jerome Leung. 

A two-man game between Lee Joo Young and Ruben Doctora Jr. Pass #1 Lee finds Balut cutting. Pass #2 Balut draws a crowd in Nathan Octavio and Andrew Santiago and passes back to Lee. Lee fires to an unprotected Jerome Leung.

Option #3 Rufo Sanchez is such a difficult player to guard. He oft draws a double or even a triple team. And that’s where he can be even more dangerous. He can turn and shoot on either foot. He can pass to Ruben Doctora. A variation of this saw Rufo on the break where his long diagonal pass to Lee now streaking from the right side, saw him score from some 15 yards away for the first goal of Stallion.

Their second goal also came from this set up with Rufo lofting the ball over to a cutting Doctora (after he drew the defense to him) whose first touch was exquisite. After Doctora controlled the ball, he had a few more seconds to shoot and fire. Goal, Stallion for a 2-0 lead.

In my opinion, the lack of pressure from Jason Cunliffe and Anto Gonzales gave Stallion a lot of room to operate in the middle.

At the half, Pachanga-Diliman adjusted and came out more aggressive in their press with Cunliffe being the key figure in this. They pressed Lee Joo Young and got the ball away from him forcing Stallion to attack differently.

In the 66th minute, Lee was pulled out for Nonoy Felongco. It was the former Pachanga midfielder’s debut for Stallion (and just in from the transfer window after the UAAP season with UST). Felongco, getting his feet wet in Division One football did not have much impact as he did not fill the shoes of Lee in the central midfield. Four minutes later, the pressure brought about by Pachanga-Diliman resulted in a goal off a free kick by Cunliffe.

In their last several matches, Stallion suffered from near second half collapses as substitutions made no impact while their intensity and defensive stance wavered. In this match, Stallion tried their usual crosses to no avail while Pachanga subs Alireza Jamali and Jay Eusebio threatened to draw level time and again.

Stallion got a break when Pachanga failed to clear the ball around the 81st minute. This resulted in Rufo scoring from some 22 yards out as he got a stride ahead of defender Mohammad Jahanarai. Rufo turned on a dime and fired that Leung never had a chance. The third goal broke the backs of Pachanga-Diliman.

Stallion’s 3-1 win over the luckless Pachanga-Diliman side put them squarely on second place with a 6-0-0 record but four goals behind pacesetter Global in goal difference.

Pachanga-Diliman traded places with idle Kaya (2-2-2) after the loss that dropped them to 2-0-4.

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