Friday, March 30, 2007
Thursday, March 29, 2007
Fernando Belluschi: Despite still not reaching his potential and matching his level from last semester, he played better than in the last few games. He had a slight improvement, and I think this was due to having other players such as Rosales and Augusto to create plays and add offensive power. He needs some partners up there, so hopefully he'll keep on getting better once Ortega returns.
This is, in a way, good for River players. Not only would they arrive at the game from having played two games in the last 7 days (vs. Gimnasia of Jujuy and LDU), but they must also play another two games in the following 7 days (vs. Caracas and Belgrano). The players will earn a well deserved rest, and hopefully they show this when facing the Venezuelan side. The 3 points will be crucial for Los Millonarios' qualification to the next round.
We must get a win today vs. Liga Deportiva Universitaria de Quito. If we lose (and Colo Colo wins or ties Caracas tomorrow), we will be left in 4th place. Being in the last position, especially in this group, would make it very complicated to go through to the Round of Sixteen.
The team I expect to not let us down today will be:
Paulo Ferrari - Danilo Gerlo - Nelson Rivas - Cristian Villagra;
A. Fernandez - Leonardo Ponzio - Fernando Belluschi - Zapata;
Mauro Rosales - Ernesto Farías.
We must watch out for Vera, LDU's best player when we faced them in Quito. Another player to watch out for is Franklin Salas, a very good player with a nice juking ability.
Wednesday, March 28, 2007
For those who don't know him, Delem was a Brazilian who played for River and his country's National team in the 1960s. He played a total of 98 games and scored 35 goals with "la banda". He later coached our club, as well as several other Argentine teams such as San Lorenzo, Huracan, and Argentinos Juniors. Despite being an important figure for the club, his most important role might have been the one he had in the 90's. During that era, Delem was a fundamental piece of River's youth program and was one of the main reasons we saw great players like Aimar, Saviola, Gallardo, Mascherano, Solari, Crespo, Ortega, D'Alessandro etc. The Brazilian was linked to all of them, and this was known. He was fired in 2001, when Aguilar assumed as our team's President. The reason for his departure is still a mystery: Why would anyone fire a legend who had brought us one of the best eras of our teams history? Nobody knows exactly why, but everyone knew that Delem wanted to return. His absense has been noticeable, since River's youth program's level has dropped within the last few years.
God bless you, Delem. Our prayers are with you.
In other news, we will be facing Liga Deportiva Universitaria de Quito tomorrow. The game will be for the Copa Libertadores 2007 and will take place in the Monumental. It will be shown live on Fox Sports en Espanol at 5:00 PM Pacific/8:00 PM Eastern Time.
Saturday, March 24, 2007
Los Millonarios are expected to field the following squad:
The game will be played at 12 PM Pacific/3 PM Eastern Time. Don't expect to see it, though: Fox has chosen to air San Lorenzo - Independiente instead.
Sorry to all blog readers, but due to the game not being shown (as well as me being out of town), won't allow a Post-Game review to be posted.
Tuesday, March 20, 2007
Cristian Nasuti: Internacional of Porto Alegre, the current World Club Cup champions, are planning on incorporating "el Tanito" on loan. If he joins the Brazilian side, he could be inscribed for the Round of Sixteen of the Copa Libertadores.
Víctor Zapata: He still hasn't reached an agreement over his contract. Worried about the situation, "el Chapa" said that "he left things very clear with the dirigentes and that everything is in his representative's hands". Will we sign? At this height, it seems very complicated
In other news, River have officially presented the new jerseys. The Home one has not changed, and will remain the same for the rest of the year, but the alternative ones have. In case you haven't seen them, this is what they look like:
Yup.. Pretty ugly. We'll be seeing the players wear the black one on Sunday vs. Gimnasia (Jujuy).
Sunday, March 18, 2007
Player Review -
Juan Pablo Carrizo: Important player for River. It's not like he stopped us from a tremendous loss, but he did have some important saves. He continues showing why Milan of Italy offered $8,000,000 dollars for him recently.
Cristian Villagra: The ex-Rosario Central player showed an improvement compared to his poor performance in his first three matches. He still isn't defending too well, but he did some interesting things while attacking. Since neither Zapata or Sambueza are responding, should we try "Kity" as a left-midfielder?
Victor Zapata: Yeah, yeah, I know he didn't play, but did anyone else notice that the only two games he started this season we lost? (vs. Argentinos Jrs. and Caracas)
Fernando Belluschi: He kept on trying to do things right, but things just aren't working out for him this season. He's already played 10 games this season, and hasn't had one good one. Can we expect his level to improve anytime soon?
Ariel Ortega: Burrriiiiitttooo!! Burrriiiiitttooo!! Just like vs. San Lorenzo last season, he sent tears down many River fans' faces. What a way to return! Not only did he score, but if it weren't for him, we would have lost 2 points against a weak team and would have gotten farther away from the league leaders (San Lorenzo). Aguante Ortega! We are all with you..
Ernesto Farias: Missed two "not so hard" chances, one of them being extremely easy. This wasn't the same Tecla we had seen lately. Either way, I wouldn't criticize him too much base on one match.. He's been doing great this season and we have to cheer him on.
Mauro Rosales: Due to Marco Ruben having some problem, "Speedy" Rosales was able to make his debut with River's jersey and played from the start. He didn't play bad, but wasn't great either. We need someone to support attack in the midfield, and Rosales can do just that. He's fast and gives nice centers, might be a good option for the right side of our midfield.
The Fans: Great way to receive the team. View the video here.
This week we don't play in the Copa Libertadores, so the players will finally get some good rest. They didn't play a good game today, and this might have been due to have played 5 games in the last 14 days. It's not easy to play in the altitude of Quito and then play another match three days later.
We will be facing Gimnasia (Jujuy) next week in Velez's stadium, due to the suspension of the Monumental. This will be the last match River will play as the home side in Liniers.
Saturday, March 17, 2007
Two players who can add offensive power to the team will be on the bench. Those two players, who are yet to make their debut in an official game for River this season, are Mauro Rosales and Ariel Ortega. Ojeda, Augusto Fernandez, Rene Lima, and Rubens Sambueza will be joining them on the bench
This will be the first time Gerlo isn't a starter for River in the Torneo Clausura. He had played in all 5 games so far, but wasn't impressing lately. Meanwhile, Rivas, another player who has played in every match in this tournament, also has high chances of being on the bench. "El Colorado" Lussenhoff played an excellent match in Quito last Thursday, and has re-gained himself a spot in the starting line-up. The only way the Colombian will play is if Lussenhoff isn't 100% fit on Sunday. If I were Passarella, though, I wouldn't take out either one. Instead, I would put Villagra on the bench and defend with Ferrari, Rivas, Lussenhoff, and Tuzzio.
As for our rivals, Quilmes is coming from a bad streak. They had a horrible tournament last season, and this year they aren't doing so well. They have 4 points, having tied with Gimnasia (LP) and won vs. Nueva Chicago. The other 3 matches ended in favor of the opposing team.
The match will be shown live on TyC Sports USA at 2:15 PM Pacific Time / 5:15 PM Eastern Time.
Thursday, March 15, 2007
The home side started of winning with a goal by Vera. After being left with ten, thanks to Sambueza being expelled, River managed to get the tie with Farias being the goal-scorer.
The Player Review -
Ernesto Farias: Once again, River's best player. This was his second goal in this year's Copa Libertadores, also making him River's top goal-scorer this season. (4 goals in 7 matches)
Rubens Sambueza: We may say he was expelled fairly, but I don't think it was his intention to foul the rival. He went looking to get the ball first, the same exact way the Ecuadorian did. If anything, the other player should have been red carded as well, for doing the same thing as "Canito".
Cristian Villagra: Horrible game, in my opinion, for the ex-Rosario Central player. He did better in the second half than in the first, but I still can't say he did good. Not much towards the defending side, and he would lose the ball most of the times he tried to come foward and attack. He hasn't impressed me in any of the three games so far. I've been asking myself, "was he worth the investment?".
Leonardo Ponzio: Another player who did good. He ran a lot, and did his share in both the defensive and offensive point of views. He has been an important player for the team so far.
Fernando Belluschi: Yet another match in which Fernando failed to shine. Is it the public pressure? Are the teams putting extra marking men on him? Is he getting too "over himself" and tries to do every play elegantly? What ever it is, I hope he finds out about it and fixes it: we are heavily missing the old Belluschi.
Federico Lussenhoff: Looked solid, as expected. My ideal "regular" defense would be Ferrari-Lussenhoff-Rivas-Tuzzio.. Sounds tougher to get past than a brick wall to me!
Despite not getting the three points that we all wanted, I think this was a good result. Just look at the statistics: River lost the last 4 matches they played in Quito (not Ecuador in general, just Quito). This tie has left us second in the group, along with LDU, with four points. We will be facing them again in two weeks in the Monumental.
One thing that concerned me, though, is that the players looked awfully tired. It makes sense, due to the high elevation and the tough schedule, but will they be fine when we face Quilmes in three days? A slight rotations is expected to begin on Sunday, with Rivas and Tuzzio (River's best defenders this season) returning to the starting line-up.. Rosales is also expected to make his debut with La Banda.. And don't be surprised if Ortega gets some minutes on the field.
Note: Click on the player names highlighted in red (before the player review) to view the goals.
Tuesday, March 13, 2007
Juan Pablo Carrizo;
Paulo Ferrari - Danilo Gerlo - Federico Lussenhoff - Cristian Villagra;
Ernesto Farias - Marco Ruben
The group we are part of, Group 6, currently looks as follows on paper:
In order be leading the group, we must win on Thursday. Of course a tie isn't a bad result in Quito vs. a tough team like Liga, but River must go out looking for the 3 points, just like we did in Santiago. As for the other match of the group: Caracas will be playing next week, at home, vs. Colo Colo.
This match will be shown live on Fox Sports en Espanol at 3 PM Pacific Time/6 PM Eastern Time.
Sunday, March 11, 2007
The Player Review -
Paulo Ferrari: Great game. Easily River's best player. If it wasn't for him, we wouldn't have won. He scored the first, and assisted in the second. Grande Paulo!!
Fernando Belluschi: He seemed lost throughout the match, but in the last few minutes he had three clear chances. The first two were stopped by Mario Cuenca, slowly transforming the goalkeeper into the player of the match. But in the last one, he managed to score and give River the win.
Nelson Rivas: Solid throughout the match. He continues being River's best defender in the tournament so far.
Victor Zapata: Poor game as usual. I only have one request: No more Zapata!
Ernesto Farias: Good game. He ran a lot and supported a lot to the attack. I wouldn't say he was thhhaaaaaatttt great, but he did good. Oh, and to top it off, he did a nice "cano" (through the legs) on an Arsenal defender.
Vamos River.. We are 1 point from the leaders now. On Thursday we face LDU in Quito, and if we win, we'll be up top in our group with 6 points.
*Note: Click on the player names highlighted in red (before the player review) to view the goals.
Saturday, March 10, 2007
Juan Pablo Carrizo;
Paulo Ferrari - Eduardo Tuzzio - Nelson Rivas - Cristian Villagra;
Diego Galván - Leonardo Ponzio - Fernando Belluschi - Zapata;
Ernesto Farias - Marco Ruben
Eduardo Tuzzio will move to his original position of central defender. The left spot will then be taken by Cristian Villagra, who will be playing his second official match with "la banda".
Thursday, March 8, 2007
Player Review -
Marco Ruben: Just like vs. Argentinos, the ex-Rosario Central foward was our best player.. He was unlucky to not score: he did a nice bicycle kick and hit the post in another.
Victor Zapata: *Sigh*. What can I say? He played like shit vs. Argentinos, played like shit today.. He'll continue playing like shit.. Disappeared 98% of the game, and when he got the ball, he did bad like always.. Zapata, do us all a favor and do not sign a new contract!
Danilo Gerlo: The third game in a row in which his presence was unnoticed, except in the cases in which he messed up.. Sorry Paco, but it's time for Lussenhoff to return..
Oscar Ahumada: Another lost soul on the field..
Eduardo Tuzzio: In the last two games he looked like the Tuzzio we saw vs. Boca in the verano, when he played his first game on the left side. He didn't defend well, gave bad passes.. It's unfortunate, it looked like he was adapting to that position. Hopefully he improves his level.
Rubens Sambueza: Didn't play enough time to really be able to rate him. I can't say he did great, but I don't think he did bad. One thing is for sure: he did better than Zapata in every aspect.
River lost an important game, and are now 3rd in the group. Caracas, who beat Liga Deportiva Universitaria de Quito in their first match, has six points. LDU, River's next rival in the Copa Libertadores, has the same amount of points as us but is leading in goal difference.
Now we must concentrate on Sunday's match vs. Arsenal, the leaders of the Torneo Clausura.
*Note: Click on the player names highlighted in red (before the player review) to view the goals.
Tuesday, March 6, 2007
In other news, Falcao got injured... again. This time he won't be out for 6 months, but for 3 weeks instead. It seems as if he can't play one month without getting injured! The good part about this "bad news" is that Ruben will probably recieve the minutes he deserves. With Farias not being 100% healthy at the time, this also means Andres Rios (a 17 year old youngster who made his debut vs. Argentinos) might receive a few opportunities. We must remember that thanks to all the fowards being unfit in 2005, Falcao was discovered. Hopefully Rios shows his potential and becomes a key player for the future.
We also have the option to play Rosales, who will arrive tomorrow, or Ortega, but neither are completely ready, since they both haven't played since January.
River started off winning 1-0 in the first half, with a nice goal by Marco Ruben. That wasn't enough, though, since Argentinos was able to come back and score two goals - one thanks to a defensive error by Gerlo.
I'm not really in the mood for this, so this time it's a
Marco Ruben: Scored a goal in the only clear opportunity he was given. This was his first game as a starter for River, yet he managed to score and be our best player. This is the reason I've been saying he deserves a spot in the starting eleven.
Danilo Gerlo: Not a good game for "Paco". Alongside his "goal giveaway", he didn't do much and never stopped anything. I think it's time for him to step aside and let Lussenhoff show us what he's got.
Victor Zapata: What a surprise! Who would have expected him to play bad? (Note: Slight sarcasm is used). Back to reality, he returned to his oldself again. I knew we couldn't expect too much from this guy!
Fernando Belluschi: Not the Belluschi we're used to seeing. He was imprecise in both shots and passes. Not a good game at all. Hopefully he improves.
Thanks to this loss, "la banda" have lost a great opportunity to stay in first place alongside Arsenal, who we will face next Sunday. Not only that, but the difference between us and Boca would have extended to 5 points in our favor. Oh well, as long as we win next weekend, it's all good. :)
Saturday, March 3, 2007
Los Millonarios will most probably field the following squad:
Eduardo Tuzzio will be returning after his one-fecha suspension, leaving Villagra on the bench once again. Meanwhile, Victor Zapata will re-gain his spot after playing a good game vs. Racing. Not only that, but Rubens Sambueza was underperforming, so this substitution is no surprise.
Argentinos, although not usually being a tough rival, may shock many. "El Bicho" is coming from playing two great matches, beating Nueva Chicago and Velez Sarfield (3-0 and 2-0 respectively). Gonzalo Choy, a Uruguayan foward, is one of their key players and may cause problems. One thing is for sure, they shouldn't be underestimated: they will be a tough team to get through.
The match will be shown live on TyC Sports USA at 1:15 PM Pacific/4:15 PM Eastern Time.
Thursday, March 1, 2007
Mauro, who recently turned 26, won the 2004 Olympics and the 2001 U-20 World Cup with Argentina. He is already familiar with some River players, such as Leo Ponzio, since he played for Newell's for 5 years.
Falcao won't be able to play on Thursday vs. Caracas, due to receiving a one-match ban vs. Colo Colo. Will Rosales fill in the Colombian's spot, or will Ruben finally get to start?