PREVIEW: Brazil’s Superliga Quarterfinals – #1 Cuiabá Arsenal v. #2 Portuguesa Lusa Lions

CUIABA, BRAZIL – Today, Saturday, November 12 at 2 PM local time the #1 Cuiaba Arsenal host the #2 Portuguesa Lusa Lions for a spot in the Final Four for Brazil’s top American football league, the CBFA Superliga.

In the first matchup this season: Cuiabá beat Portuguesa 31-14 in Arena Pantanal.

What you need to know: The city of Cuiaba, Mato Grosso has two seasons: ‘Hot and dry’’ and ‘’hot and torrential downpours.’’ The rainy season has started in Cuiaba, which could provide its own set of dynamics, but an afternoon game in the place nicknamed ‘’Cidade 40,’’ or ‘’40 degree (Celsius; 104 farenheit) city’’ borders on cruel. www.weather.com is claiming a 100% chance of precipitation tomorrow. Be it heat, rain, or Brandon Watkins, the elements will be heard from tomorrow.

If Cuiaba wins: It’s the latest episode of the Brandon Watkins and Ken Joshen show, and these two continue to be amazing while racking up touchdowns and turnovers; The Arsenal defense gets push up front, their linebacking corps swarms to the ball, and the Cuiaba DBs snag a pick or two; Cuiaba continues to get big plays from their special teams in regard to kick-blocking, big returns and solid play from veteran kicker, Raulin Leal.

If Portuguesa wins: They shake the 1400 KM (869 mile) bus trip out of their legs before kickoff; Lions QB, Catullo Goes comes up big in big moments (as he has done repeatedly throughout his career), hitting Vinicius Seya and Leandro Fratini for big plays; running back Johnny Santos shakes and boogies for crucial yards; the Lusa defense gets enough early stops to tempt Cuiaba to get away from their bread and butter (Watkins and Joshen) offensively; Portuguesa allows nothing big from the Arsenal special teams.

This guy played against both teams in 2016, here’s what he thinks:

murilo

‘’Cuiaba is a really well organized team, both offensively and defensively. Their defense is one of the best that I have encountered. I think that they will move on to the next round.’’ -Murilo Machado, OL/DL, Goiania Rednecks

Here is what our panel of experts is saying about the matchup:

riffellogopicHenrique Riffel – Futebol Americano Brasil

‘’ArsenalI think the Arsenal will have no problem beating Lusa, just like the regular season. Even with their offensive firepower of Catullo Goes, Leandro Fratini and Vinicius Seya, the team from Sao Paulo will suffer from the long trip, which can physically disrupt teams. The Arsenal have the multi-purpose Brandon Watkins, the leading scorer in the country, as well as fellow import, Ken Joshen, both of whom play offense and defense.’’

romuladofinalVictor Romulado Francisco – Salão Oval

‘’ArsenalWith the two imports (Joshen and Watkins) playing DB, Catullo (Goes) will have difficulties connecting with Seya and Fratini. Johnny Santos will have to play a perfect game against a tough Arsenal DL and Igor Mota, the best linebacker in the country, to give Lusa a minimal chance. With Watkins and Joshen also shining on the offensive side of the ball, the Arsenal are the favorite.’’

ygormartinghcbrsilYgor Martins – Head Coach Brasil

ArsenalCuiaba have beat Lions playing home earlier this year. And they should do the same this time. Arsenal always had playmarkers in guys like LB Igor Morta and DB Ken Joshen. But, the add of Brandon Watkins have take the team to another level. The guy is a highlight-reel machine. I don’t think Lions D can stop him.”

overtimefalgoGeraldo Takanage – Overtime do F.A.

‘’ArsenalAt 5-1, Lusa is experiencing great growth and evolution this season, led by Leandro Fratini on offense and safety, Felipe Texeira on defense, but Cuiaba will win this game. The Arsenal are playing at home, which means a long trip for Portuguesa.’’

haim-finalHaim Fereirra – Blog Touchdown

‘’ArsenalWith their two imports playing at such a high level, it is practically impossible to beat the Arsenal at Arena Pantanal. Cuiaba is a strong candidate for the Brasil Bowl, and if they don’t make defensive mistakes, they will win this game. Keep an eye on one of Superliga’s best passer-catcher sets of triplets in Portuguesa quarterback, Catullo Goes and his receivers, Vinicius Seya and Leandro Fratini.’’

Clayton Lovett
Clayton Lovett has served football in Brasil in a variety of roles, including as the member of the coaching staff of two CBFA national champions (Cuiaba Arsenal 2010, 2012). Football is his hobby. Professionally, he is the founder of CS Educacional, which provides educational and competitive opportunities abroad for student-athletes.
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