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, May 8, 2013

Stallion survives endgame rally by Kaya for 12th win

Stallion survives endgame rally by Kaya
by rick olivares pic by mark dimalanta/interaksyon

It’s the same story. One team runs up the score. The other team rallies. And the net effect is great theater. Furthermore, it really isn’t over until the fat lady sings.

Stallion survived a power outage and another late Kaya rally for a 3-2 win that kept them atop the UFL standings thanks largely to a three-goal haul in the first half last Tuesday, May 7, at the Emperador Stadium.

As always, the reigning UFL Cup champions did it with impeccable team play.

In only the fourth minute of the match, midfielder Hector Zaghi, who has thrived in Stallion’s pass-first system, found forward Rufo Sanchez with a perfectly-placed long ball that landed right between two Kaya defenders. This is where the Spaniard is dangerous when he has space to operate. With no one within a stride of him, Kaya goalkeeper Saba Garmaroudi rushed out to close down the shooting angle but the finish was on the money. One-nil, Stallion.

While Stallion looked impressive in moving the ball up and down the pitch, Kaya looked lost. The passing wasn’t there. During the few times the ball reached the final third, the ball didn’t make its intended recipient.

On the offensive end, Stallion looked like they were going to pound Kaya. In the 38th minute, they doubled their scored when Diego Barrera crossed the ball from the right unimpeded. Like Zaghi’s earlier pass, this one too was on the money as it found Stallion attacking midfielder Lee Joo Young who once more had space to operate. The Korean, hardly opposed, deftly flicked the ball in for a two-nil lead.

With a minute into extra time in the first half, it was Stallion defender Jeremy Hohn who was once more found by a well-placed right corner kick by Lee Won Hyung for an incredible third goal. Hohn was unchallenged for the header.

Here’s where the game turned. As the second half got underway, Stallion looking to score a few more goals played a lot higher stretching their defensive formation. Kaya, playing a lot more compact, began to get organized.

Kaya had the opportunity to pull back one when Janrick Soriano was brought down inside the box by Stallion midfielder Nonoy Felongco but skipper Anton Del Rosario missed his spot kick as it hit the second post.

Despite the botched scoring chance, Kaya continued to move forward and received a massive dose of hope when a three-pass combination – beginning with defender Fabian Lewis to Chris Greatwich whose deft flick found Alex Obiang in a near replica of the Sanchez goal.

Stallion keeper Wilson Muñoz rushed out and Obiang neatly sidestepped him to slot the ball into an empty net.

In the 75th minute, a scrumptious five-pass play beginning once more with Lewis to Greatwich to Del Rosario to Woody Ugarte to Obiang then back to Del Rosario saw the Kaya captain with space for a thunderous finish as he smacked that ball into the back of the net. Three-two, still Stallion.

The league leaders, in the midst of another late second half meltdown, struggled to stop the reinvigorated Kaya squad. Janrick Soriano had a perfect opportunity to level the count as a gaggle of Stallion defenders including Muñoz rushed out to stop him but his chip had too much power as it sailed wide left.

Time eventually ran out on the valiant Kaya side as they slumped to their first loss under head coach David Perkovic to remain lodged at sixth spot in the tables with a 4-6-3 record. 

Stallion hiked its points tally to 36, five ahead of second placer Global which has a game in hand, for a 12-0-1 record.

How did Stallion win this game?
With a strong first start where they controlled the midfield.
As always, they score in bunches. The huge lead was enough to stave off a late charge by Kaya.
Time ran out on Kaya.

What went wrong with Kaya?
Another slow start. The passing just wasn’t there in the first half.
The defense. Is it me or did Kaya play better with Masa Omura and Dario Dakic in the back?
Anton Del Rosario missed a penalty shot. That spelled the difference between a draw and maybe a win.
Playing with a lack of energy in the first half. Maybe they have to start Janrick Soriano to play alongside OJ Porteria to pick up the pace.

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