Monday, July 25, 2016

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Random Thoughts on Kaya vs Loyola and JP Voltes vs Laos

JP Voltes 4 Laos FC 0

JP Voltes finished the first round of the UFL League in a strong third place, ahead of Loyola, Kaya and Stallion. Who’d have thought that would happen, eh?

Many fans and coaches have been impressed at the four foreign players of JP Voltes – striker Takumi Uesato, midfielders Takashi Odawara and Yu Hoshide and defender Masaki Yanagawa have arguably been one of the better foreign quartets playing in the league.

One opposing player commented: “JP Voltes is very disciplined. The Japanese players have influenced the way the others have been playing.”

Trivia on how the name JP Voltes came about:
‘J’ is for Japan.
‘P’ is for Philippines.
‘Voltes’ … well, since Voltes V is very famous in the Philippines…….

An hour before the JP Voltes games, you will notice their team manager Yuki Tanaka at the SM Tickets booth giving out tickets to children. The kids are part of his charity, who now become de facto cheerleaders of JP Voltes in the games.

The inspiring story of Laos goalkeeper Felipe Tripulca Jr.: The then aspiring goalkeeper was a former ballboy of the UFL back when the league was playing in the University of Makati.

As he wanted to improve his craft, he always requested to be stationed behind the goalkeeper during games, picking up pointers. Look at him now, a starting goalkeeper for a UFL team. Good job!

When Patrick Franksson scores big, Laos wins. Suffice to say he didn't score today, thus the result. Might he prove to be a useful pickup in the transfer window?

Loyola 1 Kaya 0

There’s bad blood between these two teams – even though the players will not be so forthright as to admit it. You can feel it in the air, even the way players avoid each other in the grandstand prior to warm-ups. This was a prelude for sure to a highly physical game.

Reason number 27 to watch the games live: watch for the off the ball contact between players.
Elbows being thrown, players stomping on each other when no one’s looking…case in point: Robert Lopez Mendy vs Joaco Canas. / Robert Lopez Mendy vs. Simon Greatwich. / Robert Lopez Mendy vs. Everybody Else.

Junior Munoz had to be replaced because of a broken nose. A ball hit him that hard?

It is perhaps a testament to how Kaya treated this game that Kaya coach Chris Greatwich started with Alfred Osei to partner Masa Omura at the back ahead of veteran Aly Borromeo and Audi Menzi.
Was Greatwich looking for reliability and solidity at the back, but at the expense of a dynamic midfield player?

On the other side, the newly blonde Jason de Jong was stationed at midfield to bolster the LMS midfield, with Anton del Rosario partnering Joaco Canas. Loyola coach Simon McMenemy understands importance of control of the middle.

You know it’s not a good day for the Loyola Meralco Sparks defence when your two starting centerbacks have to be subbed off – Joaco for injury (?) and Anton del Rosario for tactical purposes (?)

James Younghusband had quite an interesting afternoon – starting up top as the number 9, but having to be the emergency centerback for a few minutes in the second half before going back up top again.

With Loyola down 0-1 and chasing the game, why was Phil Younghusband stationed in the left wing? Phil was also found playing very deep through some parts of the game.

One way to beat Kaya is by using fast forwards. (See: Doctora, Ruben vs. Kaya). Did Loyola have anyone who can do the same damage?

Good to see former Women’s National Team member Merlo Albano as the assistant referee in the game.

The battle of Loyola vs Kaya not just confined on the field, but also on the stands (Ultras Kaya vs Loyola supporters) and on the bench (Simon McMenemy vs former player Chris Greatwich).

On the Robert Lopez Mendy sending off – such an irresponsible second yellow card that he earned, especially since this comes immediately after he was just warned by the referee.

Special guest appearance at the half-time break: the Jollibee mascot who represented the Sparks new sponsors.

Does Chris Greatwich miss playing? A clue would be his sprints on the sideline as he runs side by side his players embarking on a quick counter attack.

Photo Credit: UFL Facebook Page

Full Lineups of the UFL All-Stars, Rest of the World and Philippines Squad for the UFL All-Star Weekend

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Random Musings from the UFL Action on July 9/10

Very Random Musings from the UFL action on the weekend of July 9/10

Global 4 Green Archers United 0

Another dominant Global display.

I wonder how much attacking verve they lost with the loss of Daisuke Sato. Congrats Sato, btw. Definitely a level up.

That Sato/Minegishi combo on the left flank always gave other teams a lot of trouble with their pace and understanding.

Marco Casambre strikes me as too raw, but it will be a good opportunity for him to develop. As would Nathan Octavio.

By the way, Global started out with Casambre - Villanueva - Amani - Barbaso at the back for the game against Global.

When was the last time you saw an all-Filipino back four start for the top 6 teams in the UFL?

Patrick Deyto sent off with a straight red. Wow. How often do you see keepers getting sent off because of dissent?

Deyto was called by the linesman for handling the ball outside the area. He saved the subsequent direct free kick, and was seen saying something to the linesman.

What would he have said to have merited a straight red?

JP Voltes 2 Loyola 1

JP Voltes winning against top sides shouldn't be counted as 'upsets' anymore, IMHO. They have been a joy to watch in the UFL -- a breath of fresh air, if you must.

Asked before the match what their gameplan was -- JP Voltes coaching staff said: "Simple pass, just the simple pass. Play the short pass and go into space." It's really that simple.

Takumi Uesato -- such a find. Sitting in his couch on Okinawa, Japan looking for a club -- before JP Voltes came knocking.

As for Loyola -- a setback before the match against a fading Kaya FC.

Can Loyola find the defensive solidarity they so badly need? Never looked like keeping a clean sheet, and this has been a problem for them all season long.

Started with Mallari - de Jong - Joaco - Koichi, but were forced to put in Anton del Rosario at the start of the second half.

This allows de Jong to help a midfield losing its discipline and battle against a very physical JP Voltes.

With Tommy Trigo set to depart, it will be down to Gui Hasegawa to man the posts -- and he has to improve. That second JP Voltes goal.........

Last five games of Loyola before JP Voltes were:

June 15 LMS 11 Agila 0
June 18 LMS 4 Forza 0
June 26 LMS 13 Laos 2
July 3 LMS 9 Nomads 2
July 7 LMS 9 Pasargad 0

Did they suffer from lack of sharpness because they faced weaker teams for almost a month?

Scoring forty-six goals. 46 in five games. Yessir........

Ceres 5 Kaya 0

First things first, that first goal by Ceres should never have been one -- the previous play leading to it was a high boot by Schrocky.

How on earth did the linesman not call it? It was in front of him........!

That said, after that, Ceres simply played Kaya off the park.

Kaya were missing OJ Porteria (left the club) and Louis Clark (suspension), and that dulled their edge a bit.

Alfred Osei and Miguel Tanton tried to drive the team, but they can't do it by themselves.

OJ Porteria leaving Kaya midway through the season? Which club he goes to next, he doesn't mention. But, unless it is a step up (ie. S.League, for example), fans would have hoped he stayed at the club till at least the end of the season.

A look at Kaya's record against four of the top five teams:

May 15 Kaya 0  Stallion 1
June 12 Kaya 0  Global 3
July 2 Kaya 1    JPV 3
July 10 Kaya 0   Ceres 5

Not exactly the results of championship contenders.......

League needs a competitive Kaya FC. Here's hoping they turn things around fast for them.

Photo creidt: UFL Philippines FB Page