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, March 12, 2014

UFL Tuesday: Breaking down Green Archers United’s 3-2 win over Kaya

Breaking down Green Archers United’s 3-2 win over Kaya
by rick olivares

Heading into this match, Kaya had not beaten Green Archers United in two previous outings. While one game was awarded to them for GAU fielding too many foreigners, it wasn’t that W that they wanted.

A win was imperative especially after they botched an opportunity to grab some much-needed points against Stallion in their previous fixture.

At the start of the match, Kaya had control of the ball as they methodically worked their way forward with their possession-based ground game. Christian Ayew and Andrew Liauw had chances but not enough to beat keeper Patrick Deyto.

Green Archers on the other hand mysteriously gave Kaya free hand reign on the field while hitting back on the counter.

GAU forward Jovanie Simpron had a tough time beating Eddie Mallari on the right side while Kaya captain Anton del Rosario was a wall in the middle. As solid as the back four was in their 4-3-3 formation, it is incumbent upon their midfielders to provide another protective layer.

While Archers’ counters (4-1-4-1 on the attack and 4-4-2 on defense) were proving to be a nuisance, they began to fire away from the outside. Unlike other teams that like to work their way inside the box, GAU has no compunctions about firing away. They never have – they used to have Ayi Aryee and defender Dodong Villareal taking those shots. And that being the only shot given by Kaya, they gladly took it testing keeper Nick O’Donnell.

I was following Kaya’s OJ Porteria who was assigned the right-winger role. While Kaya officials assured me that they have played him here before, I always thought that he was more confortable on the left where he could use his blazing speed or coming in from the middle where he likes to dance and dart around defenders. He was hardly influential in the first half.

The game turned on a simple in-game adjustment with Simpron switching sides with Jon Melliza who was a match for Mallari. With a serious threat on the left and Mallari having a bit of his hands full and Archers’ Ronnie Aguisanda solid on the same line, Archers seized control of the midfield.

That was also due to Kaya’s secondary being stretched and slow to get back on the attack. There were large tracts in the middle vacated by Kaya’s foraging mids (obviously, Kaya was missing Chris Greatwich). GAU took advantage of that with Jesse Martindale at the center of it all.

Off a brilliant pass by Martindale, Tating Pasilan, playing the midfield -- as Melliza and Simpron were up front -- instead of his favored forward position, latched on to the ball and darted forward. With only Masa Omura left for Pasilan to beat, O’Donnell rushed out, hesitated (seeing if Omura would stop the Archer player), then ran out to meet the challenge. Pasilan unleashed a shot at the last moment with a roller that met the back of the net. But he paid for the goal with a knee-to-knee collision with O’Donnell.

It was the one shot on goal from inside the box by GAU and they scored.

After the half, Porteria moved to his more favored left side and Kaya began the last 45 minutes just as they did in the first – threatening Archers with renewed vigor in their attack.

But it was the 53rd minute adjustment that looked like a masterstroke for head coach David Perkovic when he sent in Janrick Soriano for Ayew. Barely a minute in, Soriano pressed defender Kweon Dae, he stole the ball and passed to Kenshiro Daniels who drew a defender and an onrushing Deyto who sensed the threat. Daniels flicked the ball over to an unmarked Soriano who slotted it into an empty net. 1-1.

Soriano was a game-changer. He had four attempts within minutes of his entry. His partnership with Porteria and Daniels gave life to Kaya.

The celebration was short-lived as Villareal’s brilliant free kick from far out caught O’Donnell just a little of his line. The ball struck the underside of the crossbar and bounced in for a 2-1 lead at the 59th minute.

Ten minutes later, Anton Del Rosario, who was stellar in this match, through sheer force of will, fought for the corner and headed in the equalizer.

But as it was almost all-match long where GAU found it difficult to break the wall put up by Mallari, Del Rosario, and Omura (except for Pasilan’s strike), Martindale capped his game-long brilliance with a 30-yard strike – unmarked, I should say – for the marginal goal.

Perkovic tried to pull out one more rabbit out of his magical hat as he sent in Jovin Bedic, who normally starts, and he went on a one-two play with Soriano for the near equalizer. But there wasn’t enough time to equalize.

Martindale’s goal, in the 85th minute, was a killer, as GAU held on for a 3-2 win; their biggest so far in league play.

Kaya stayed at third in the table but fell to a 6-2-3 record while GAU, still  in eighth spot, garnered their second win versus five losses and four draws.


Goal of the Night: Dodong Villareal's free kick from way out there to beat Nick O'Donnell. 

Player of the Game? I'd give it to Jesse Martindale for ruling the midfield plus his assist and awesome goal.

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