Saturday, April 28, 2007

Rosario Central: 0 - River Plate: 2 - Torneo Clausura 2007

Marco marcó.. Twice. Marco Ruben gave River the win today, by putting the ball through Rosario Central's net. The final score was 2-0 in favor of River.

Los Millonarios didn't exactly play "beautiful football", but neither did the home side. Either way, River showed an improvement: they had good shot accuaracy up front, defended well, were able to cope with having one player less than the opposition, and put in a lot of effort.

The Player Review -

Marco Ruben: Player of the game. Plain and simple. Had three shots in the entire match, and scored twice. The ex-Central player played like a real goleador, who may not appear all the time, but when he does is much more than dangerous. Click here to see the first goal. Click here to see the second goal.

Augusto Fernandez: Our other best player. If Ruben hadn't scored both goals, I would be announcing him as the Man of the Match. The youngster was fast, had nice passes, and was very important for River's win today.

Juan Pablo Carrizo: Didn't have much to do. There weren't that many clear shots by "los Canallas", but when they did attack, Carrizo made every River fan feel secure.

Cristian Nasuti: "El Tanito" did a good job once again. He is slowly gaining himself a spot in the first team and has been our most solid defender in the last few matches.

Cristian Villagra: The ex-Rosario Central player was expelled early on in the game. After 30 minutes, we were left with 10 players due to him getting two yellow cards.

Fernando Belluschi: Didn't have a great match, but was still important for us. He made several Central players get nervous and get yellow cards. He also recuperated several balls. Not great, but not bad either.

Mauro Rosales: Mauro continues looking like our best reinforcement for the season so far. He continues adding speed to our offense and basically served the goal for Ruben.

One thing to worry about, though, is that we are suffering to many injuries. Currently, Radamel Falcao Garcia and Ernesto Farias -two fowards- are injured. Today, their two replacements (Marco Ruben and Mauro Rosales) left the field injured. So now we have four injured fowards. As for players in other positions, Tuzzio had to be subbed in the first half and will probably miss the match vs. Colon on Wednesday, and Ahumada finished the match in bad conditions. Hopefully these injuries aren't too severe and we can continue hoping to fight for the tournament.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Rosario Central - River: The Preview

Tomorrow, Saturday, April 28, 2007, we will be facing Rosario Central in their home stadium. Many may see it as an easy match, but I don't expect us to take the three points easily. The "Canallas" have won their last 3 games, and have been rising lately. Not only that, but they did not receive a goal in any of them either (3-0 vs. Nueva Chicago, 2-0 vs. Velez, and 1-0 vs. Gimnasia LP).
River will field the following team:
Juan Pablo Carrizo;
Cristian Villagra-Federico Lussenhoff-Cristian Nasuti-Eduardo Tuzzio;
A. Fernandez-Fernando Belluschi-Oscar Ahumada-Victor Zapata;
Mauro Rosales-Marco Ruben;

Paulo Ferrari is injured, so Cristian Villagra will take his place. I like Villagra more on the right side than on the left: he's right footed and seems more comfortable on that side (at least from what I saw vs. Colo Colo). Meanwhile, Tuzzio will return to the right wing, position in which he played at the beginning of the semester, and Lussenhoff will take his place as one of the two center backs. In the midfield, Ahumada will continue playing since Ponzio is not 100% fit, Belluschi will return to his starting spot, and Zapata will play once again (having not played since the day of the elimination from the Libertadores vs. Caracas). Other than that, the rest of them team is the same as the one that beat Banfield last Sunday.

Rosario Central's top goalscorer is Gonzalo Belloso, who has scored 3 times this season. We must also be careful with Angel DiMaria, a young talented midfielder, and Cristian "Kily" Gonzalez, an ex-Argentine International with lots of experience.

The match will be shown live on TyC Sports USA at 12:00 PM Pacific / 3:00 PM Eastern Time.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Carrizo, Belluschi, and Farias: Last Season in River?

It seems as if it's time to say goodbye to Juan Pablo Carrizo, Fernando Belluschi, and Ernesto Farias. And no, this is no April Fool's Day joke. Unfortunately, it's the truth. Here's the latest on the three River players -

Juan Pablo Carrizo: Milan still wants him, and now a mysterious English club wants to take the young goalkeeper: they say it's West Ham, Carlos Tevez's team.

Fernando Belluschi: Atletico Madrid still wants him, and now Napoli of Italy have added themselves to the list of clubs interested in the ex-Newell's player. In Italy they claim that when Aurelio de Laurentis, owner of the club, wants a player, he brings him. In Diego Maradona's ex-club, they assure that they will buy him if they manage to ascend to the Serie A.

Ernesto Farías: People close to the foward have said that his era in Núñez is close to coming to an end. He's been at the club for almost two and a half years now, and yet is still championship-less and with negative results that drop his market value and willingness to stay.

Although none of their transfers have been confirmed, everyone knows that at least Carrizo and Belluschi are expected to depart from Nuñez in June. Even though Belluschi isn't going through a good moment (although he has been improving a bit lately), I wouldn't want him to leave. As for Carrizo, I'd hate to see him leave even more. In previous years, I didn't feel this nervousness when a goalkeeper left the goal in the role of another player. When Bonano left, Costanzo stepped up. When Costanzo left, Lux got the spot. When Lux was separated, Carrizo was given the role. Now who? Ojeda? I don't think he is a bad goalkeeper, but is he good enough to play the finals of the Copa Libertadores vs. Boca. For now, I don't think he is, but I guess only time will tell.

River Plate: 1 - Colo Colo: 0 - Copa Libertadores 2007

River beat Colo Colo today with a goal by Galvan. The match itself wasn't too entertaining, due to Colo Colo qualifying previously and River already being eliminated.

Los Millonarios played with an alternative team, but still managed to control the match. Yes, Colo Colo were missing a few players, but key players such as Suazo (18 goals in 15 games), Sanhueza, etc. played from the start. Despite that, River controlled the ball most of the time, and had more shots than the Chileans (who only reached River's goal once or twice).

The match left River one point away from the league leaders, but still unable to qualify. These are Group 6's final standings:

1) Colo Colo: 9 pts.
2) Caracas FC: 9 pts.
3) River Plate: 8 pts.
4) LDU Quito: 8 pts.

River's best player, in my opinion, was Ariel Ortega, who made several nice passes/centers and had some nice jukes (including a "cano"). He still didn't regain his form, but had some great passes. I wouldn't have rated him the best in most other matches with this form, but I think he did better than his teammates, who obviously weren't too excited about a match that was worth absolutely nothing.

There's not much to say about the match. This was River's last match in the Copa Libertadores 2007, in which we were eliminated in the group stage.

On Saturday, we will be facing Rosario Central in El Gigante de Arroyito, their home stadium. We must win to get closer to San Lorenzo. Vamos River!

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

River - Colo Colo: The Preview

Tomorrow's match vs. Colo Colo will just be an undeleted note on the "To Do List". Colo Colo have already qualified to the next round, while River has been eliminated. The match has no purpose, and matters a bit more for the Chilean side: the more points the get, the better chances of facing an easier rival the next round.

River will go out with an alternative squad. The team is expected to look as follows:
Juan Marcelo Ojeda;
Danilo Gerlo-Federico Lussenhoff-Nelson Rivas-Cristian Villagra;
Diego Galvan-Oscar Ahumada-Rubens Sambueza;
Ariel Ortega;
Andres Rios-Marco Ruben;

Minor changes may be made, such as Lima for Ahumada. One thing is known, though: Ortega will be playing from the start. The most important part is that he will be playing as our playmaker, something River's been missing for a long time now. Another player who is going to play is Ojeda, who will make his debut with "la banda" and give Carrizo a well deserved rest.

Even though this is just a match that has to be made up (and is worth nothing), I don't want to see that defense. I don't want to see Villagra or Gerlo getting another chance, and would be extremely pissed off if we finish off our humiliating Libertadores campaign with a "goleada" against us. Yes, Colo Colo will put several subs, but important players, such as Suazo (who scored vs. River in the first match in Santiago) and Sanhueza, are expected to play.

No one was planning on seeing too many fans present at the stadium. In fact, Aguilar & Co. decided to charge everyone (even socios/members) for their tickets. "Who would want to pay to see a match that is worth absolutely nothing?", everyone was asking. Well, many said it was a plan made out by Aguilar so people wouldn't show up and insult him and Passarella. For those who didn't know, flags against el Kaiser were taken away from fans before entering the stadium in the last few games. Pretty pathetic, right? Anyway, despite not being completely full, there will be many more fans than you'd expect. According to Ole, $25,000 pesos have been exchanged for tickets so far, and this is mainly (well.. fully) due to Ortega's return as a starter and as a playmaker.

The match will be shown live on Fox Sports en Espanol at 3:30 PM Pacific / 6:30 PM Eastern Time.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

River Plate: 2 - Banfield: 1 - Torneo Clausura 2007

River finally got a win today, for the first time in over a month. We started off winning with a goal by Paulo Ferrari (penalty) 12 minutes into the first half. Salvatierra of Banfield was also expelled at the same time, so River had entered a good situation early in the game. This parcial score in our favor wasn't able to last too long, though: eight minutes later, Eduardo Tuzzio put the ball past his own net. This meant a tie for Banfield, who left the field in a much better mood than River players.

For the second half, Fernando Belluschi (who was a substitute, alongside other important players such as Ponzio) entered the field and managed to score 23 minutes later.

The game was not televised, so I can't comment to much on it. But according to the Argentine press, River improved a lot compared to recent performances and deserved more than two goals.

For those who are interested, game highlights will be shown today on the TyC Sports USA program "Paso a Paso". The show reviews all the games played every week in the Argentine League, and will be shown today at 8:00 PM Pacific/11:00 PM Eastern Time. If you do not have this channel, you will have another chance to watch the highlights thanks to Fox Sports en Espanol, who will broadcast Futbol de Primera, a similar show, at 4:00 PM Pacific/7:00 PM Eastern Time.

The win leaves us 8 points away from league leaders San Lorenzo, who won 2-1 today vs. Godoy Cruz. It may seem like a lot, but we have a suspended match, which can minimize our point difference to only five points. Eight matches are left (nine for River), and anything is possible. Just remember Estudiantes' miracle in the Apertura. It will be hard, but not impossible. Aguante River!

Note: Click on the text in red to view the goals.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

River - Banfield: The Preview

River will be facing Banfield tomorrow, for the 11th fecha of the Torneo Clausura 2007. The team desperately needs a win, having not won a single match for over a month.

Passarella is expected to field the following squad:
Juan Pablo Carrizio;
Paulo Ferrari-Eduardo Tuzzio-Cristian Nasuti-Federico Dominguez;
A. Fernandez-Lima/Abelairas-Leonardo Ponzio-Fernando Belluschi;
Marco Ruben-Mauro Rosales;

*Note: Nothing has been confirmed till now

Banfield are currently 18th in the league ranking. "El Taladro" have only won 2 of their 10 matches played in the tournament so far. In the Copa Libertadores, they did a bit better, but were recently eliminated. They are in a difficult situation, and will want a win just as badly as River. Two players to look out for will be Cvitanich (their current top goal scorer with 3 goals) and Lujambio (if he plays). Both are fowards and are really dangerous up front.

Unfortunately, the match will NOT be shown live nor on tape delay. Fox Sports en Espanol will be showing the derby between Gimnasia (LP) and Estudiantes, while TyC have opted to go for Boca and San Lorenzo's matches instead. If they would have wanted to show River's game, they wouldn't have been able to transmit either of the two matches, since ours is in between both (one hour and thirty minutes after the start of Boca's game, and forty minutes before San Lorenzo's).

In other news, Zapata has confirmed that his chances of reaching an agreement with River are basically equivalent to zero. He has already been thinking of other possibilities, since he hasn't been getting along too well with Passarella and the dirigentes. This is great news for all River fans. Congratulations to all the "millonarios"!

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Boca Juniors: 1 - River Plate: 1 - Torneo Clausura 2007

River Plate and Boca Juniors tied today in what was the 180th edition of the Superclasico in Argentine tournaments. Boca started off winning quickly (before the first minute was even completed) thanks to Pablo Ledesma, who scored after some nice passes coming from Boca's side and some horrible defending coming from River. Despite not playing amazing football, Boca was much better than River in the first half, due to River's constant defensive errors and few offensive opportunities.

In the second half, Los Millonarios went out looking for the tie. Mauro Rosales, one of our incorporations for this semester, managed to put the ball inside the net after 5 minutes had passed. After that, we had several opportunities that were close to ending up as goals (two shots by Ruben, one by Belluschi, etc.). This doesn't necessarily mean we recuperated our past level. Sure, we improved our performance by A LOT compared to what we showed in the first half, but it still wasn't up to River's standards.

The Player Review:

Juan Pablo Carrizo: He continues proving why he's considered such a great goalkeeper. Today, he saved our team singlehandedly in the first half. He had several important saves, and if anybody else would have been in charge of our goal, I'm sure we would have received several goals. He has to be Argentina's goalkeeper for the Copa America.

Paulo Ferrari: Paulo looked completely lost out there today. His offensive level was equivalent or less than zero, and his defending was horrendous. It was a piece of cake for Boca's fowards and midfielders to get past him, and his prescense was only noticeable when he committed mistakes.

Federico Dominguez: He didn't have that bad of a game, but didn't have a good one either. In my last post I had stated that I was worried about our defense, and today's game proved exactly why I was frightened. You can't play two defenders who don't help in the back: it's either him or Ferrari. Passarella did something similar vs. Caracas (except that he put Villagra instead of Dominguez), and we all know what the outcome was.

Cristian Nasuti: Started off bad, just like our whole defense. They would leave open spaces towards the middle, on the sides, in the front: everywhere. In the second half he improved, and recuperated the ball many times.

Eduardo Tuzzio: Pretty much the same story as "el Colorado".

Fernando Belluschi: He's still not raising his level. I had gotten a little bit of faith last week, after I saw him play a few minutes vs. Belgrano, but his level of play was quite low once again today. In the second half he had a chance to give River the win, but missed it. Other than that, not much to say about Belluschi's match.

Mauro Rosales: The foward scored River's only goal. He has been doing pretty well since he arrived, but he still didn't look completely fit. Once he gets more playing time, though, I think he will be a very important figure for this team (at least if he continues playing like this).

Marco Ruben: I really liked what I saw from the ex-Rosario Central player today. He created a few good chances, and was unlucky not to score when the match was about to come to an end. I had said in the past that he could have a bright future ahead of him, and playing like this, and I don't see why not.

This tie extends Boca's period without being able to beat River to two years. It's not all good news, though: this also extends River's period without winning a match to one month (3 ties and 2 losses).

Note: Click the words in red to view the goals.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Boca - River: The Preview

The Argentine Superclasico, River Plate vs. Boca Juniors, will be played this Sunday for the 10th Fecha of the 2007 Torneo Clausura. What can I say? It's an extremely important match, in which the players put their all (most of the time) and the fans create an amazing atmosphere.

We need a win for several reasons:
1) A Superclasico is always a "must win" situation. There is NEVER an exception, no matter what the cost is.
2) To give the players and fans some confidence in the team.
3) If we win this match (as well as our suspended match with Colon), we will have the same amount of points as Boca (21) -current league leaders- and will once again be in the run for the tournament.

Ernesto Farias and Radamel Falcao Garcia, two of our top-goalscorers, are currently injured and will be missing the match. Farias was injured in the few minutes he played vs. Belgrano last week, and Falcao is yet to fully recover from the injury he suffered a month ago. Since neither them nor Ortega will be ready for the match, Passarella decided to give Sciorilli and Rios a chance: the two youngsters will be integrating the bench since Ruben and Rosales are our only fowards that are currently available.

The 11 men Daniel Passarella is expected to field this weekend:

Juan Pablo Carrizo;
Paulo Ferrari-Eduardo Tuzzio-Cristian Nasuti-Federico Dominguez;
A. Fernandez-Leonardo Ponzio-Oscar Ahumada-Fernando Belluschi;
Mauro Rosales-Marco Ruben;

The decision to include Fede Dominguez and exclude both Nelson Rivas and Federico Lussenhoff from the starting line-up has sparked up a small controversy. Many are saying that we need a leader like Lussenhoff in the back, and that Tuzzio should be moved to the left side to control Palacio, just like he did in the Torneo de Verano. Some say Dominguez played well vs. Belgrano and could add flare to the attack. What do I think? I think we are being a bit risky. Palacio isn't someone who is easy to control, and I do not know if Fede is capable of doing so. Meanwhile, Ferrari doesn't defend very well either, so it's like we're playing with two defenders (reminds me of a game I didn't want to be reminded of). Anyway, Ahumada will be in the midfield to control Riquelme, along with Ponzio.

The team Boca plans on putting is as follows:

Caranta;
Hugo Ibarra-Daniel Díaz-Morel Rodríguez-Clemente Rodríguez;
Pablo Ledesma-Ever Banega-Neri Cardozo;
Juan Roman Riquelme;
Rodrigo Palacio-Martin Palermo

This seems to be a very dangerous side. Not only have they won their last 5 games in the league, but their players have been doing quite well lately. Palermo alone has 8 goals, more than our 11 players that will be playing combined (6). Palacio is always dangerous, and has been improving since he recuperated from his injury. In fact, last week he scored two goals vs. Velez. Other players to look out for are Neri Cardozo, who has been having a great season and has scored several goals already, and Ever Banega, the young #5 who took Gago's place and has been shining ever since.

The statistics slightly favor Boca, who have a total of 65 wins in the derby compared to River's 60. This event has ended in a tie 54 times. Hopefully we get a win on Sunday and get even closer in the Historical Record as well as in the Championship.

DO NOT miss this match. The game will be shown live on Fox Sports en Espanol, Fox Soccer Channel, and Fox Sports World Canada at 12:00 PM Pacific/3:00 PM Eastern Time.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Assorted Superclasico News

The Superclasico match (Boca vs. River) won't be played till Sunday, but there is already news.

To start off, Ernesto Farias was injured vs. Belgrano de Cordoba, last weekend, and will be out for 3 to 4 weeks. This, obviously, means that he will be forced to miss the Superclasico. Despite not playing very well lately, he has always been important in these games and scored in the last two matches vs. Boca (in the 1-1 in the Bombonera and the 3-1 in the Monumental). Falcao is also injured, so River will be missing two very important players on Sunday.

In other news, tickets for River fans were sold today. For the first time in history, they had to order them by phone, and many felt as if they were fooled and left without a ticket (a total of 13,000 people called in). Either way, the ones who should get all the blame are Mauricio Macri, President of Boca Juniors, and Jose Maria Aguilar, President of River Plate. Why Macri? Because every year he gives our fans less space in the Bombonera. Before, we used to have two "bandejas" (sections), and even that wasn't enough. Then, Macri decided to give us 5,000 tickets, then 4,000, then 3,500, and now... only 2,500!! The next time we face them, we will end up getting 20 spots! I'm not affected, since I live in the USA, but if I were in Argentina I would be extremely pissed to miss this game. As for Aguilar, it's his fault for not paying Macri back with some of his own medicine. We, like dumbasses, would always give them more (sometimes double) the amount of tickets they gave us. We finally gave them the same number last time around, yet they had 8,000 people in the Monumental. I don't like this stuff. Part of the culture and fun of the Superclasico is the spectacle the fans put and the songs they direct at each other. This is what makes it so different and so much better than other Derbies worldwide. Yet Macri fails to realize this.

Mauricio, do us a favor and don't kill the football (soccer) culture!

Monday, April 9, 2007

Video: Boca - River Preview

I was looking for some Superclasico material and found the following video, which reviews past Superclasicos between River Plate and Boca Juniors. Enjoy!

Sunday, April 8, 2007

River Plate: 1 - Belgrano: 1 - Torneo Clausura 2007

Passarella surprised everyone today, putting players such as Abelairas, Andres Rios, and Sciorilli as starters and leaving usual starters like Farias, Belluschi, and Ponzio on the bench. It ended up being a pretty good idea. The team, despite not creating too many chances, improved it's style of play and reached the goal more often than in previous games.

Belgrano started off winning with a penalty shot taken by Marcelo Delgado, an ex-Boca player. The goal itself was really controversial: Lussenhoff jumped with his arm in the air, but the ball didn't seem to have touched him. Still, Baldassi didn't doubt to take the call and "helped" el Pirata get the lead.

River later tied the match in the second half thanks to Augusto Fernandez. We were after the win, which we deserved more than Belgrano, but we were not able to find it.

The Player Review -

Juan Pablo Carrizo: Although he wasn't the star player of the game, he did some important saves and increased the level he had shown lately.

Federico Lussenhoff: Not exactly what I expected from him. He caused the penalty (although I still doubt he actually touched the ball), and seemed kind of slow. A great defender, but his lack of games this semester is noticeable.

Cristian Nasuti: He was part of the "Colorado" duo in the defense today (alongside Lussenhoff). I liked what I saw and I would continue giving him opportunities. Federico (Lussenhoff) wasn't very good today, and Gerlo has been a disaster the whole semester. I'd love to see Nasuti receive more minutes.

Augusto Fernandez: The right midfielder just keeps on getting better and better. He was the best player of the field, causing danger to the opposition everytime he had the ball. He's fast, he gives nice passes, has the ocassional juke, and scored our only goal. The goal itself was Augusto's "traditional" shot: strong and aimed towards the bottom. I've always liked this guy, and if I would have had the money, I would have invested it in him years ago. I see a great future ahead of him.

Sebastian Sciorilli: The 17 year old surprised everyone and made his debut today. He was, in my opinion, our second best player. He had some interesting things and gave nice centers. He should be a player to watch for.

Matias Abelairas: Just like Sciorilli, he was given a shot as a starter today. He started off well, but his level decreased as time passed. Still, he played a looot better than Zapata and may be a good option since Zapata probably won't continue playing for River and Sambueza is injured.

Fernando Belluschi: He entered in the second half and wasn't exactly the Belluschi from last semester. Even though he still isn't completely back, I think he did much better now and made an interesting partnership with Augusto Fernandez.

Marco Ruben: He let me down and disappeared in the second half. I would continue giving him opportunities, though.

Next week we are facing Boca and must get the three points. One reason is because we must always win the Superclasico. Another reason is to not stay away from the top (if we lose we'd be 9 points away from Boca, but with one game less). The last reason is to give all the River fans a small joy, after a bad season so far. If we play like we did today -or better-, we have many more chances of getting a good result,, compared to past performances. Still, Boca have been doing very good lately and will not be easy to beat.

Aguante River!

River - Belgrano: The Preview

We will be facing Belgrano today, in what is scheduled to be River's first match since the elimination from the Copa Libertadores 2007. This will also be the first time since the game vs. Lanus that we'll be able to host a Torneo Clausura match in the Monumental (due to the stadium being suspended previously).

Passarella is expected to make several changes for this match: a total of 4, 5, or even 6 may be made. It seems as if he's been reading my blog. Why am I saying this? Simple: we won't be seeing neither Gerlo or Zapata. "El Chapa" Zapata, in fact, was not even included in our coach's list of 20 players that would concentrate for this match. This is yet another sign that they won't be renewing his contract and he will be on his way to becoming a free agent in June (thank god!).
Anyway, back to today's game. River is expected to field the following them, but nothing is confirmed yet:
Juan Pablo Carrizo;
Paulo Ferrari-Eduardo Tuzzio-Federico Lussenhoff-Cristian Villagra;
A. Fernandez-Fernando Belluschi-Oscar Ahumada-Diego Galvan;
Ernesto Farias-Marco Ruben;

A few youngsters, such as Andres Rios, Sebastian Sciorilli, and Matias Abelairas, concentrated with the first team and may end up getting a few minutes today.

Belgrano will arrive at the Monumental with an enthusiastic and inspired squad. Last weekend they beat Velez by 3-0, and they are after another good result. Despite that, they aren't doing too great (they've only won 2 matches this season and accumulate a total of 8 points). In fact, of the total 12 points possible, they only have 1 point this tournament while playing away from home. No game should be considered an easy win for us, though. We already saw what happened with Caracas on Thursday.

Although many may not be aware of this, Belgrano actually does have some really good players. Montoya, their goalkeeper, is one of the best in the Argentine league and will be extremely tough to get through -especially if we continue creating a low amount of chances-. Bolatti is a great defensive midfielder who was wanted by Boca, Independiente, and River in the past. Andres Rios is their foward with most goals this season, so he may be another player to watch for.

The match will be shown live on TyC Sports USA at 2:15 PM Pacific/5:15 PM Eastern.

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Game Over.

The tournament is done for us. We were humiliated today, after losing 3-1 to Caracas FC and being eliminated in the first round. Farias scored our only goal. I can't comment too much, since the game wasn't shown on television, but the radio commentators insisted that River had huuuuuuge defensive errors. Well, what could we have expected playing with one defender? "One defender, what?", you may be asking.. Yes, Rivas was technically our only defender. Gerlo is a retard who hasn't done shit and has been fucking up since the Torneo de Verano. He already lost many games for us this season, and today they said he made several errors on Caracas' goals. Villagra seems to have been a horrible incorporation, having played extremely bad in every game he's participated in so far. He doesn't defend for shit and often starts counter attacks for the opposition. Ferrari, meanwhile, is a good player but doesn't have a clue about defending. The poor defending cost us the game, and I think we could have gotten a better result if players like Lussenhoff and Tuzzio played instead of Gerlo and Villagra. Oh, and to top it off, the dumbass Zapata was expelled in the first half when we were down by two goals.

We were eliminated in the first round, with one match left: a huge embarrassment. I'm sick and tired of this, and can't wait till Aguilar gets the fuck out of here and Ramon Diaz returns. I don't ever, ever, ever, ever want to see Gerlo, Villagra, or Zapata with a River jersey again.

Sorry for the foul language, if it offended anyone. I just cannot stand this, and feel like I'm going to explode. The only way I'll be a bit happy is if we beat Boca and win the Clausura, but even that won't cover up my anger.

If anyone is interested (even though I highly doubt it), the match will be shown on tape delay on Fox Sports en Espanol today at 9:30 PM Pacific/12:30 AM Eastern time.

*Note: Click on the player names highlighted in red to view the goal.

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Caracas - River: The Preview

We will be facing Caracas of Venezuela on Thursday, April 05, 2007. The game will be played in Cucuta, Colombia, due to Caracas' home stadium not being approved by FIFA/CONMEBOL to be used for the Copa Libertadores. The stadium only has seating available for 12,000 people, eight thousand less than the CONMEBOL minimum. Therefore, the match will be played on Colombian ground.

River Plate is expected to field the following team tomorrow:

Juan Pablo Carrizo;
Paulo Ferrari-Danilo Gerlo-Nelson Rivas-Cristian Villagra;
A. Fernández-Leonardo Ponzio-Fernando Belluschi-Zapata;
Mauro Rosales-Ernesto Farías

I think this is an accessible game. They were able to beat LDU by luck, and lost to Colo Colo twice (0-4 in one opportunity). Still, I don't guarantee anything. The last time we faced each other they beat us 1-0, and that was in the Monumental. I wasn't impressed by what I saw, though. They didn't have a really good game, and I think they won more because River played bad and was unlucky at times (2 shots on post), than because they played good and deserved to win. Caracas have four starters suspended, adding another reason to why I will go crazy if "Los Millonarios" don't take the three points. But who knows, I didn't expect River to lose vs. Caracas in the Monumental or vs. Gimnasia (JJ): that could happen again.

If River loses this match, we will be out. A tie won't automatically disqualify us, since there would be one more game to be played, but it wouldn't be a good result. With a tie we would be third, one point away from Caracas and 3 from Colo Colo. Although it doesn't seem to be a horrible position, it isn't good, especially considering that we must face the tough Colo Colo in our last match. They are coming from a 3 game winning streak, two of which ended 4-0 in their favor.

We must get the 3 points on Thursday. If we can win by a big difference, better. Why am I saying this? Because if we win by several goals, we can tie vs. Colo Colo on the last match, and not have to worry about the result of LDU-Caracas. Even if Caracas wins, they would be able to catch up, but not on goal difference (unless they get a tremendous result in Quito.. highly unlikely). The bad thing about a win tomorrow would be that LDU will be out, meaning that they will most likely put subs vs. Caracas on the last match. Still, we must go out to get the three points.

The match will NOT be shown live. A tape delay will be shown on Fox Sports en Espanol at 9:30 PM Pacific/12:30 AM Eastern time.

Vamos River.. Hay que ganar, somos el Mas Grande. Que vuelva el buen juego, que vuelvan las goleadas.. que vuelva..... River.

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

River Tactics: An Alternative

I have been analyzing what River's problem was, and, in my opinion, it's that we don't have midfielders who add enough offensive power and give the ball to the fowards. If you noticed, we attacked a bit more when Augusto Fernandez played instead of Ahumada vs. Liga Deportiva Universitaria de Quito last week.

This is a team I came up with that I think may attack a lot better than our current one:

Carrizo;
Ferrari-Lussenhoff-Rivas-Tuzzio;
Rosales-Ponzio-Galvan;
Augusto Fernandez;
Falcao-Ruben.

We need a playmaker, and I think A. Fernandez can get the job done. Plus, that used to be his original position. He may be substituted by Ortega, once he is fully fit and ready to play.

I put Rosales more back, and put him as our right midfielder instead of as a foward. He is not a goal scorer, something River needs. I also think he has nice jukes and nice centers, and that is what we are in need of in our midfield.

As left midfielder, since I hate Zapata and Sambueza is injured, I put Galvan. This is the position he played in many times with Estudiantes, where he did great and was an important part of their 2006 Apertura Championship.

Since Farias has not been playing too well lately, I put the Falcao-Ruben duo up front. Falcao is returning from his injury, and he adds speed to our attacks. Plus, if he's on fire, he can have a nice scoring spree. Meanwhile, Ruben is a goaleador, something we need, and I see a good future ahead of him.

Belluschi, who hasn't played one good game this season, would be on the bench. This might motivate him to play better when he gets a chance. He could replace either Galvan on the left or Rosales on the right.

Opinions?

On a side note, Colo Colo beat LDU at home by a margin of 4-0. If River wins on Thursday, we will be second in the group, 1 point behind the Chileans, 2 ahead of Caracas, and 3 ahead of Liga. The group will look like this:

1) Colo Colo: 9
2) River Plate: 8
3) Caracas: 6
4) LDU Quito: 5

It's also scary at the same time though, because Colo Colo have won their last 3 matches, 2 of which they won by 4-0. They will be our next rivals in the Copa, and will most definitely be a hard rival. Damn man, why didn't we get the job done vs. LDU? We deserved to win, and if we did, we would have a total of 10 points with a win on Thursday. We would automatically have been through to the next round, regardless of the score vs. Colo Colo.

Oh well, Vamos River

Sunday, April 1, 2007

Carrizo and Belluschi: Sold to Juventus

River have transfered two of it's biggest stars, Juan Pablo Carrizo and Fernando Belluschi, to Italian club Juventus in a transfer package worth $12,500,000 dollars. "Although I am sad to leave River, I am happy at the same time for having the opportunity to go to such a big club in Italy. My dream was to play in Europe as a child, and it has finally been made a reality", said the goalkeeper.

This is ridiculous. What ever happened to Passarella saying Belluschi was worth $40,000,000? If anything, I would want atleast the total amount for just Belluschi. It's like selling Fernando on clearance and giving you Carrizo for free. I cannot see any logic in this. Now, we are in a horrible situation. The team has been playing like shit, and we are losing two of our best players. How the f*** are we going to even fight for a tournament like this? Not only that, but we're getting two cents for them. R-I-D-I-C-U-L-O-U-S. The only thing that I can think of that is more ridiculous than this is this post. Happy April Fools Day! (For those who don't get it, it's a joke for a holiday). Don't expect to see them for too long anyway, Belluschi is expected to leave in June and Carrizo will be on his way to Milan once his Italian Citizenship is acquired. :(