Monday, November 26, 2007

Passarella's Replacement: The Search Continues

It's been almost two weeks since Daniel Passarella resigned from his position, yet River Plate have not been able to find a replacement coach. With Ramon Diaz, Carlos Bianchi, and Americo Gallego officially out of the race, "los Millonarios" have once again turned their attention to Diego Simeone. "El Cholo", though, is still coaching Estudiantes and would like to stay if his reinforcements are brought in for next semester. Simeone refused to talk about the subject for now, but did not discard the possibility either.

The clock is still ticking, and Jose Maria Aguilar does not want to be left without a manager. So in case Simeone refuses to join the club, our President now has a back-up plan which includes Jose Pekerman, Claudio Borghi, and Nery Pumpido. Of those three, the only one I wouldn't want to see is Pekerman, who has left me with a very negative impression of him after his time managing the Argentine National Team. In my opinion, many of his tactics and decisions made us (Argentina) lose the 2006 World Cup, and I wouldn't even want to think of having him coach River during a Superclasico or an important Copa Libertadores game. But putting all my thoughts aside, his arrival wouldn't be too accessible either, since he is doing well in Toluca and is earning plenty of money. Pumpido and Borghi, on the other hand, are easier options to bring in and are more identified with the club than, say, Pekerman.

In other news, River lost 2-0 to Colon on Saturday for the 17th Round of the Torneo Apertura 2007. Colon, managed by Leonardo Astrada, were the better side throughout the match, but it is important to be noted that Ariel Ortega, Fernando Belluschi, and Radamel Falcao Garcia were all absent on the home side.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

And One Day Ramon Said "No."

The title to this post says it all: Ramon Diaz rejected Jose Maria Aguilar's proposal to return to River Plate and will stay with San Lorenzo till atleast December of next year. The conclusion surprised many, especially with the Argentine Press nearly concluding that his arrival was confirmed, but nothing can be done now.

Today is Thanksgiving, and what better way to celebrate the holiday than by thanking our President for the return of Ramon Diaz. But why should he have gotten our thanks? Aguilar deserved to receive a slap in the face, not a praise, and that's exactly what he received. After dismissing Ramon in 2002, despite having the coach clearly win the Argentine tournament playing great football, the two have been getting along like Water and Oil, and many are forgetting that. A few years ago, Aguilar even went as far as saying in a press conference that Ramon Diaz would never return to River while he was in charge of the club. Now I hear some people critisizing Ramon for not returning when given a chance: "If he was a real River fan, he would chose River over San Lorenzo any day" is one of the things I've heard more than once. Well, put yourself in his position. If somebody fired you without a legitimate reason, would you return to save that same person's career? In most cases, no, and there is nothing wrong with that decision.

Of course this decision has brought more negatives than positives along with it. One that upsets me a lot is the possibility of having ex-River star Andres D'Alessandro join San Lorenzo instead of River in January because of his friendship with Diaz. But besides that there is a big problem circulating "los Millonarios" now. With the two main targets (Ramon Diaz and Diego Simeone) now discarded, who will replace Daniel Passarella? Claudio Borghi, Leonardo Astrada, Omar Labruna, and Americo Gallego are the most rumored names, though Aguilar guarantees that there is not one firm candidate in mind now. Personally, I am not too interested in seeing any of them. Of those four, I think Astrada would be the one with most chances of succeeding. Either way, he is comfortable in Colon and plans on staying there for next semester.

So who will coach the club if it's not them? Call me crazy, but I'd like to see Jorge Gordillo stay a while extra. "El Tapon" will be on the bench for the last three games of the Clausura, and maybe it wouldn't be a bad idea to extend his term. He may not be the most luxurious coach in terms of tournaments won, but he is a person that is identified with River and already knows the players well since he's been managing the reserves for a while now. Of course if I had Ramon and Simeone as options, I wouldn't go with Gordillo, but there is no other "juicy" names going around, and I don't want to see anybody become our coach just because we need one. Besides, Ramon Cabrero was in Gordillo's position two years ago, and now his team (Lanus) is first in the Argentine league with just three games left. Whatever Aguilar's decision is, let's pray it's a good one.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Passarella Out: Possible Replacements

With Daniel Passarella resigning just recently, River Plate have begun to search for a replacement for the "Kaiser". Many names are going around, but the top two firm candidates are Ramon Diaz and Diego Simeone. There is no doubt that the two are excellent managers, but will either one of them be able to make it to Nuñez?

Just a few days ago, the main man was ex-Argentine National Team captain Simeone. Diego joined Estudiantes not to long ago and was an instant success: he managed to win the Argentine Apertura 2006 (defeating none other than Boca Juniors in a tournament final) and also humiliated and demolished arch-rivals Gimnasia (LP) by beating them 7-0 in the derby. Ever since then he has been considered one of the best coaches in Argentina, and many see him as the ideal person to be in charge of "los millonarios". With a strong personality and good leadership, Simeone could get the best out of his players and could make a tournament return to the Monumental after 4 years. The biggest problem, though, is that he still is at the helm of Estudiantes, who don't want to even think of releasing their adored coach before the 2008 Copa Libertadores. The team President has mentioned that he would be very upset to see him depart, which would also bring a $500,000 fee along with him (recision fee; his contract is set to expire in June 2008). "El Cholo" would be a fantastic coach to bring in, but will he be willing to break Estudiantes fans' hearts by leaving to a club he never even played for?

As mentioned previously, the other "big" candidate is Ramon Diaz. His arrival seemed ever so far, due to having a well-known dispute with Jose Maria Aguilar. The fight began in 2002, when Ramon's contact with River was never renewed, despite having won the tournament that same season. Ever since then, things got even worse between the two, including a public appearance by Diaz supporting a rival candidate for President in the elections of 2005. His name is often mentioned when River is looking for a coach, and this time was no exception. Even though his past with our President is more than rusty, his return no longer seems as distant: Aguilar has been praising Ramon lately and has mentioned that they will make an attempt to bring him back. This official decision has sparked some fury in San Lorenzo's surroundings, with many mentioning that he would be a traitor if he left them now. Either way, Savino (San Lorenzo's President) has assured that he will sign a new contact and will stay with the "Cuervos" to fight for next season's continental competition. What has R. Diaz said regarding the subject? He didn't close any doors, but he didn't open them either. His decision will be presented to the press and public on Thursday.

If both fail to arrive, River is expected to go after Americo Gallego or Claudio Borghi. Others such as Leonardo Astrada, Enzo Francescoli, and Omar Labruna have been rumored to join too, but seem to be more of a distant reality. Nobody knows for sure who Passarella's succesor will be, but hopefully Aguilar does not make a foolish decision.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Daniel Passarella Departs

Just like the Copa Sudamericana 2007, Daniel Passarella is now only a part of history for River Plate. The "Kaiser"had promised in May of this year to leave if he did not win either the Torneo Apertura or the Copa Sudamericana, and he did just that.

I am not the typical Anti-Passarella River fan. Although I do think it is time for a change, I do not have the urge to go out and bash Passarella game after game. Sure, I've been angry at him several times before, but I also think many fans were wrongfully outraged. He was often blamed when making a wrong tactical change in matches that we lost, but in general they were the right changes to do at the moment (of course if we would have won those games, people wouldn't have said anything).

In his second cycle coaching "los Millonarios", Passarella left both positive and negative points. I've tried summing some of them up, and this is what I got:

Positives (things people fail to see):
- Discovered Gonzalo Higuain, Juan Pablo Carrizo, Augusto Fernandez, Diego Buonanotte, etc. All these players ended up being stars, with a tremendous future. With other coaches, who knows if they would have even debuted yet.
- Gave opportunities to other great players such as Andres Rios, Rene Lima, Matias Abelairas, Nicolas Domingo, etc. I wouldn't go as far as saying they are stars, but they are all great players who will almost surely have a great future. Other youngsters such as Mussachio, Oliva, Lizio, Sciorilli, Valencia, Antonio, Burzac, etc. were able to debut on the first team thanks to the "Kaiser", but did not get as much continuity.
- Resurrected Ariel Ortega. The same player that was in a hospital recuperating from an alcohol problem is now the star and leader of our team. With another coach, his return might have not been assured. Passarella is like "el Burrito"'s dad and helped him progress tremendously.
- Brought back the best Falcao. Despite the Colombian underperforming for a long time, Passarella insisted on bringing his old form back and continued getting minutes. Guess who is now the top-goalscorer of the team.
- Pretty much brought Fernando Belluschi, Mauro Rosales, and Leonardo Ponzio - all three now being very important players to the team. Daniel insisted tremendously that all three of them arrive at "la Banda" until his wish became a reality.
- Literally "owned" Boca Juniors. He did not lose once, winning twice and tieing the same amount of times.

- Managed the team for two years but did not win a single tournament. In his reign he played 4 Argentine tournament, 2 Copa Libertadores, and 2 Copa Sudamericanas. Surprisingly enough, we did not see the team lift the trophy in ANY of those eight tournaments.
- Lost to many small teams such as Caracas, Almagro, Tigre, San Martin (SJ), Gimnasia (JJ), Arsenal, etc.
- Gave away German Lux, a goalkeeper with tremendous skill, by seperating him from the first team. Lux later let his contract expire and joined Mallorca of Spain.
- Was eliminated in the first round of the Copa Libertadores 2007, as well as in the Copa Sudamericana 2006.

In the end, we have been left with good moments and.. well.. let's just say not-so-sweet moments. Time has passed and it cannot be reversed. We cannot do anything but move along and look for a new coach.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

River Plate: 0 (2) - Arsenal: 0 (4) - Copa Sudamericana 2007

River Plate tied 0-0 to an almost unnoticeable Arsenal last night. Unfortunately, the match went on to be defined in a penalty shoot-out, where the away side were able to find the difference over "Los Millonarios" and proceed to the final.

Arsenal went out from the first minute looking for a 0-0 result. With 10 men defending every ball played, things were made difficult for River, who were not able to reach Cuenca's goal too often in the first 45 minutes. In the second half, "la Banda" improved a bit and deserved atleast one goal. Still, Mario Cuenca's espectacular night caused the match to finish the same way it had started. Arsenal then won 4-2 in penalties, leaving River with another trophy-less season.

The Player Review -

Juan Pablo Carrizo: Our goalkeeper did not have much to do throughout the entire 90 minutes played. In the penalty shootout, though, he resurrected River by stopping Andrizzi's shot and partially tieing it. Unfortunately this didn't have too much importance later, since we lost, but Carrizo still did an overall good job.
Paulo Ferrari: Our captain played a decent game, but he didn't attack as much as expected. Nothing amazing, but no errors nonetheless. Converted his penalty shot. His overall good performacnes this season have brought Villarreal to be interested in incorporating him in December.
Eduardo Tuzzio: He continued playing despite what seemed to be a minor injury in the first half. He did well, though he almost gave Arsenal a goal when he kicked the air rather than the ball in one play.
Cristian Nasuti: "El Colorado" was once again solid in defense and tried to score with his killer headers. He was one of the players who cared most about the match and once again left a good image as a center-back.
Leonardo Ponzio: Personally, I think he was one of the best players on the field. Ever since the day he was included on the starting team vs. Boca, the ex-Zaragoza player has delivered some exceptional performances. He has been defending very well and attacks when needed. Ponzio has managed to transform himself from a substitute to a very important first-team player. With no known interested teams in him, he could be a vital part of the team next semester.
Fernando Belluschi: Missed an extremely clear chance at the tenth minute that would have left us previewing the final vs. America rather than talking about our elimination. Later on in the match he had some great shots, including a fantastic one in the dieing minutes of the game, but Cuenca did not let the midfielder celebrate. He was one of the players that missed his shot in the penalty shoot-out.
Oscar Ahumada: A very poor performance by the #5. He didn't do much (if anything) throughout the whole game. To top it off, he was expelled in the second half.
Rene Lima: In my opinion, the best player on the field last night (behind Cuenca -Arsenal's goalkeeper). He recuperated, distributed, gave the great assist to Belluschi (10th minute), and had a potential shot. Unfortunately, he was not able to continue his positive performance after the match, and took an extremely horrible penalty which left us out of the tournament.
Diego Buonanotte: Tried more than most of the players out there. He had a few sparks here and there, but more than often seemed to hold on to the ball for way too long.
Ariel Ortega: "El Burrito" was not able to do much. He did well while on the field, but was injured early on in the game by Andres San Martin (it just happened to be an ex-River player!). No word on how long he will be out for (not like it matters much now).
Andres Rios: The youngster did not receive the ball much and was not able to mark his prescence. His substitute was able to do much more (see below).
The Substitutes -
Mauro Rosales: The ex-Ajax player entered sooner than expected to replace the injured Ortega. He didn't do as much as we expected, but did contribute every now and then. He should have taken the fourth penalty instead of Lima.
Rolando Zarate: It was a surprise to see him enter the field, but he ended up being one of the best players present. He gave a few good crosses and had some good shots. He was one of the two players who converted his penalty shot (Ferrari being the other).
Augusto Fernandez: Augusto was a substitute do to not being completely fit after his injury. He came in towards the end of the match but did not have time to do much. Why he wasn't one of the penalty takers is beyond me.

The Copa Sudamericana 2007 is now a thing of the past for River Plate. Only hypothetical questions remain: What if Colombia would have shown some respect by letting Falcao play? What if Ariel Ortega had not gotten injured during the start of the match? What if Augusto Fernandez/Rosales/Ponzio had taken our fourth penalty shot instead of Rene Lima? What if the pitch was in good conditions? There is no correct answer to any of these questions, yet they keep on appearing in my mind.

Highlights of the match:

Penalty Shoot-Out:

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

River - Arsenal: The Preview

River Plate will be facing Arsenal de Sarandi in what will be the second leg to the Semi-Final match up between the two Argentine sides. The final match result of the first game was 0-0, meaning that a win tomorrow will automatically give us the qualification to finals to play against America (Mexico)/Millonarios (Colombia).

The following players will be starting for "La Banda":

Juan Pablo Carrizo;
Paulo Ferrari-Cristian Nasuti-Eduardo Tuzzio-Leonardo Ponzio;
Fernando Belluschi-Oscar Ahumada-Rene Lima-Diego Buonanotte;
Ariel Ortega;
Andres Rios

In regards to the team that tied on the first leg, there will be four changes:
- Paulo Ferrari will be replacing Danilo Gerlo. Our captain had missed the first match due to being suspended, causing Tuzzio to play as a right back and Gerlo as a center back. With Ferrari once again on the first team, Tuzzio will return to his original position, while "Paco" will be on the bench.
- Rene Lima will replace Nicolas Domingo. Passarella will be looking for a less aerial game than last time and believes that Lima can help out more offensively than Domingo.
- Diego Buonanotte will replace Matias Abelairas. After el "Pitu" Abelairas's mediocre performances lately, Buonanotte will once again return to the starting team. Diego will be a bit more ahead on the field than Abelairas, though, causing Lima to move to the left side from time to time.
- Andres Rios will replace Radamel Falcao Garcia. Our top-goalscorer this season (Falcao) was called up to the Colombian National Team and will be forced to miss tomorrow's game. The decision was a bit controversial, since Colombia doesn't even play till Saturday, but River could not have their say in the situation. Either way, Rios is a great player and is the striker on the team with most similar characteristics to the "Tiger".

The following results will determine our destiny in the Copa Sudamericana:

  • River Wins: River Qualifies
  • Arsenal Wins: Arsenal Qualifies
  • 0-0 Tie: The match proceeds to a penalty shootout.
  • Tie With Goals (i.e.- 1-1, 2-2, 3-3, etc.): Arsenal Qualifies.

The match will be shown live on Fox Sports en Espanol at 4:15 PM Pacific / 7:15 PM Eastern Time. A tape delay will also be shown the same night on the same channel at 8:00 PM Pacific / 11:00 PM Eastern Time.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Huracan: 2 - River Plate: 1 - Torneo Apertura 2007

A River Plate team composed mainly of debuting youngsters and a few reserve players lost to Huracan last night in the Diego Maradona Stadium. The final score was 2-1, though it could have been different.

In the first half River showed some interesting things and were able to take the partial lead thanks to Sixto Peralta. "Los Millonarios" continued being greater than Huracan in the first part of the second half, and could have easily extended the difference. In fact, River should have been awarded a penalty, but the ref amazingly saw it out of the penalty box and only gave us a free-kick (not to mention that Huracan's defender should have been expelled for being the last man, but he only received a yellow card). This could have changed the outcome of the game, but unfortunately the "man-in-yellow" saw things differently as compared to everyone else.

Later on in the game Antonio Barijho entered the field and the tables slowly began turning. As time passed, Huracan gained control of the match and were able to flip the score (though there was an offsides by Barijho in the second goal). For what they had done earlier on in the match, River's youngsters did not deserve to lose, especially considering that there were several strong calls in favor of our rivals given by the referree (1 penalty not called for us, 1 red card not given to them, 1 goal by them on offsides, and several other "minor" calls).

The Player Review -
Juan Marcelo Ojeda: Neither of the two goals were the ex-Rosario Central goalkeeper's fault. Despite making a few good saves, he did not show the same firmness he had shown earlier on in the season.
Carlos Valencia: The Colombian was one of the most impressive players on the field. His form did decrease as time passed, but he was unstoppable when at his best. Valencia is fast, full of technique, and has good touches. He is a very interesting option to replace Paulo Ferrari (we all know he will be transferred sooner or later).
Mateo Mussachio: The 17 year old is one of River's main defensive prospects for the future, but he did not leave a big mark last night. Bare in mind though that he is only 17 years old and has more than enough time to grow.
Federico Lussenhoff: "El Colorado" improved as compared to when we had last seen him vs. Botafogo, but he still committed a few errors every now and then. Overall I think he did a good job, but I still wouldn't even consider having him on our first team.
Emmanuel Martinez: This wasn't Martinez's first game in Primera, so we know him a little bit more than many of the other players that played last night. He had some great slide tackles and stopped a shot (that was almost certain to finish in the goal) right on the line. Still, he was often beaten by opponents on the right side, and one of the goals began just there.
Matias Abelairas: A few good passes were given by el "Pitu", but he did not managed to do much more than that. In a night where he was one of the players with most official minutes played, Abelairas was expected to be one of the key players. Despite that, he was one of the worst and a cold question is starting to arise: Was he meant for River? Matias has been given several opportunities this season, but he hasn't been able to perform even half as well as he had in pre-season Peace Cup tournament in Korea. Will Passarella continue giving him chances?
Matias Diaz: Not much was shown by Diaz, though he did well when he appeared. Nothing amazing, but a decent match nonetheless.
Facundo Affranchino: Little to nothing. Actually, I am being way too nice: Affranchino did nothing whatsoever. Except for a good cross early on in the game, the 18 year-old pulled a "Riquelme" and disappeared throughout the rest of the game. No positive thoughts for now on Facundo.
Sixto Peralta: Despite me still thinking he is a tremendous failure who doesn't belong in River, el "Mumo" played his best game since his arrival. He scored his first goal with "la Banda" (and it just happened to be vs. his ex-club!) and was one of the best players on the field. Still, I don't get convince that easily: he should not be anywhere near the starting line-up (or even the bench).
Damian Lizio: Arguably the most impressive debutee. Had some good jukes, a free-kick that was millimeters away from going in, and received a foul that should have resulted in a penalty. There is no question why Fiorentina of Italy called the 18-year old up to tryout last year.
Andres Rios: Rios continues on playing well and proves that he should be a serious consideration for the first team. Last night he played very well and assisted Peralta on our only goal. Even though he has received way less opportunities than Marco Ruben, he has done a lot for the team and has scored several goals (let's not forget that if he hadn't scored that one night vs. Botafogo, we wouldn't still be fighting today for the Copa Sudamericana). Many of us forget that he is only 18 years old and can develop into a tremendous talent in the near future.

Mauro Rosales, Rolando Zarate, and Rene Lima all entered in the second half. Lima was probably the best of the three, though none of them were able to make their prescence too valuable.

With the starting eleven yesterday, it was more than clear that River is concentrating purely on the Copa Sudamericana. The team must find a win on Wednesday vs. Arsenal, for Lanus's 4-1 win over Rosario Central on Friday has officialy left us out of the competition for the Torneo Apertura 2007 (chances were small previously, but now they have been destroyed mathematically). Unfortunately, Radamel Falcao Garcia will be absent, but we can still do it. Aguante River!

Friday, November 9, 2007

Huracan - River: The Preview

Affranchino? Valencia? Lizio? M. Diaz? Do those names ring a bell? Not exactly. In fact all four of these players will be starting tomorrow for River Plate vs. Huracan. The four youngsters will be making their official debuts with a River jersey, but they won't be the only unusual players tomorrow. The following eleven will be looking for the win:

Juan Marcelo Ojeda;
Carmelo Valencia-Lussenhoff-Mateo Mussachio-Emmanuel Martinez;
Facundo Affranchino-Matias Diaz-Matias Abelairas;
Sixto Peralta;
Andres Rios-Damian Lizio;

Careful, though: that's not it. Other youngsters such as Maxi Oliva, Diego Bogado, Lucas Sanchez, and Diego Cardozo have been concentrating for this match as well, and it wouldn't be surprising to see some of them enter in the second half.

Besides the experienced (and underperforming) players like Lussenhoff and Peralta, most of these players have just recently stepped out of their baby cribs: Affranchino and Mussachio are 17, while Martinez, Valencia and Lizio are 18. Even Andres Rios and Matias Abelairas, whom we are now so used to seeing, are just 18 and 22 years old respectively. The match will be more than interesting to watch. I don't expect a downright amazing performance by "Los Millonarios", but it will be fun nonetheless to see the future players of the team getting a shot.

The match will be shown live on TyC Sports USA at 4:00 PM Pacific / 6:00 PM Eastern Time.

Arsenal: 0 - River Plate: 0 - Copa Sudamericana 2007

River Plate and Arsenal tied 0-0 in a generally boring match played in Sarandi last night. The first ten minutes were fantastic, with River constantly pressuring. After that the team started relaxing, causing neither of the two sides to take the leadership role.

In the second half River began playing better again, especially once Diego Buonanotte stepped on the field, but the overall image left in the 90 minutes of gametime did not show a very offensive River. Either way Arsenal didn't do well either, and did not have the efficient aerial attacks that were expected. Our defense did a splendid job, with Tuzzio being at his best, Ponzio avoiding any possible threat on the right side, and Nasuti being solid. Danilo Gerlo left a few doubts here and there, but luckily enough for him the other three defenders covered his poor performance. Besides that, there isn't much more to comment on this goal-less match.

The second leg of this final will be played next Wednesday in the Monumental Stadium. Both teams are expected to improve in that game. One can expect a very offensive 90 minutes: no tie will get River through directly (0-0 goes to penalties; any tie with goal gives Arsenal the qualification), causing us to go out looking for the goal from the first minute. Arsenal will probably be more cautious and will be anxiously awaiting a counterattack. I am not a psychic, but this should be a very entertaining match with goals from both sides, contrary to what we saw yesteday.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Arsenal - River: The Preview

River Plate and Arsenal will be facing each other tomorrow in what will be the first leg of one of the two Semi-Final matches of the Copa Sudamericana 2007. Regardless of who qualifies, there is guaranteed to be one Argentine team in the final of the International tournament (though we obviously will be rooting just for River!).

The big question flowing around this whole week was whether Diego Buonanotte or Mauro Rosales would start. Everything seemed to indicate that Buonanotte would, but the tables eventually turned to the point that Rosales looked like the probable starter. Despite the two having equal 50/50 opportunities, Daniel Passarella surprised everyone today by including Marco Ruben in the starting eleven and leaving Buonanotte and Rosales on the bench. There has not been an explanation from the "Kaiser", but I believe it is because River have been lacking goals and shots in the last few games. Sure, both Diego and Mauro have tremendous skill and great passes, but who is going to put the ball past the net? Our rivals are starting to realize that Falcao is our goalscoring machine and have been marking him a lot more lately. If Falcao doesn't header/shoot those centers in, then who will? That's when Marco Ruben comes in. It may sound like a bad decision by Passarella, due to Ruben having a generally bad season so far, but it's an understandable risk nonetheless.

The following players will be starting tomorrow:

Juan Pablo Carrizo;
Eduardo Tuzzio-Cristian Nasuti-Danilo Gerlo-Leonardo Ponzio;
Nicolas Domingo-Oscar Ahumada-Fernando Belluschi;
Ariel Ortega;
Radamel Falcao Garcia-Marco Ruben

As seen above, the "regular" players will be present, with a few exceptions: Eduardo Tuzzio will be moving to the right side to cover Paulo Ferrari (suspended; Danilo Gerlo will be a center-back) and Nicolas Domingo will be taking Augusto Fernandez's place (injured).

Arsenal will be missing defensive midfielder Andres San Martin, but will still have dangerous players on the team: Jose Luis Calderon has been scoring goals ever since he came out of his baby crib, and is the key player on their squad. Besides him, there could be other surprises: defenders Matellan and Gandolfi scored both of Arsenal's goals vs. River in their 2-1 win over us in the Apertura, proving that any player can have a glorious day.

The match will be shown live on Fox Sports en Espanol at 3:30 PM Pacific / 6:30 PM Eastern Time. A tape delay will be shown on the same day at 8:00 PM Pacific / 11:00 PM Eastern Time.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007


I want to apologize to the regular blog readers for my lack of updates lately. I've had an extremely busy week with barely any time (if any at all) to type up game previews/reviews. I'll try to keep myself up-to-date from now on, though.

A few updates:
- River tied 1-1 with Independiente, almost officially eliminating any possibilities of winning the Torneo Apertura: we are now 7 points from league leaders Lanus, with just four matches left to catch up. Passarella seems to realize the difficulty of being crowned Argentine champions, so all the bets will now be moved to the Copa Sudamericana. Mathimatically speaking, though, River still has and opportunity of winning both competitions (Lanus can always pull a "Boca-Lavolpe Tricagon" campaign).
- Our match dates for the Copa Sudamericana semi-finals have been decided. The first match (away) will be on Thursday, October 8th, while the second leg will be played at home on Wednesday, October 14th.
- In order to change the first leg's match date, River's directives chose to sacrifice the next round of the Torneo Apertura by moving our game vs. Huracan to Saturday. This will be less than 48 hours after the Arsenal-River match, almost surely confirming that our starting eleven will be mainly substitutes.
- Radamel Falcao Garcia is now linked with both Italian and English clubs. His departure in December wouldn't be much of a surprise, especially with River interested in bringing in Carlos Villanueva of Audax Italiano (Chile). Could the Chilean be Falcao's replacement?

Aguante River!