Thursday, May 31, 2007

Assorted News

Plenty of news has been going around lately. From players leaving, to the coach leaving, many rumours have been said.

To start off, Daniel Passarella received a spectacular offer from Besiktas, a European club. The Turkish team was offering "el Kaiser" a 2 year contract worth $3,500,000 euros! It was truly a surprise, since they are one of the biggest teams from Turkey and Passarella is going through a rough moment. Despite the juicy offer, Daniel decided to turn it down and try his luck in River. He has promised to leave in Decemeber if he doesn't win anything this coming semester. He made the same promise in January, based on the current semester. Will he keep his promise this time?

As for players, our coach has decided that he is tired of playing without a playmaker and has mentioned that the club will once again have a #10. Who it will be, nobody knows, but there are some possible reinforcements for the position:

- Federico Insua: The ex-Independiente and Boca Juniors player will probably be transfered since his club, Borussia Möchengladbach, were recently relegated to the German Second Division. His past in Boca may make it hard for him to join us. Either way, some teams from the Bundesliga are interested in him, so his possibilities of being incorporated are low.
- Leandro Romagnoli: The ex-San Lorenzo player is another possibility. His wife did not want to return to Argentina in January when he was linked to San Lorenzo, so who knows if she will want to now.
- Leandro Gracian: The ex-Velez player is currently playing for Monterrey of Mexico and was close to joining Boca Juniors in January. He has some nice possibilities of joining the team since he isn't in a great situation in Mexico at the moment. Plus, Monterrey is interested in Ernesto Farias.

Even though I like Romagnoli and especially Gracian, at the same time I do not want them to join us since I would love to see more of Sebastian Sciorilli and Marcelo Burzac (two youngsters who play in that position). On his debut vs. Belgrano, Sciorilli did great and even threw in a few "rabonas" and other tricks. If you think about it, if we would have brought in a playmaker from a different club in the past, players such as Pablo Aimar and Andres D'Alessandro might have not even debuted in River! If it were up to me, the playmaker I would want is Daniel Montenegro. He is a great player and has proven it more than once with la banda on his chest. Other than that, I would like to see the youngsters get a shot.

Regarding players leaving the club, Fernando Belluschi is still linked to Steaua of Romania. River wants $18,000,000 dollars for him. Meanwhile, Rubens Sambueza has high chances of joining Pumas of Mexico on loan in exchange for $100,000. Daniel Passarella has requested that Victor Zapata stay, but he may still leave. If the two left-wingers leave, River will be left with very few options in that position. Therefore, the directives are interested in bringing in Sebastian Romero, an Argentine who plays for Panathinaikos of Greece.

A few defenders may also leave: Nelson Rivas, who is on loan with us, is wanted by German side Hertha Berlin. Danilo Gerlo, another central defender, is wanted by teams from Switzerland, Israel, and Austria.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Peace Cup 2007 Groups Chosen

The teams and groups for the 2007 Peace Cup have been confirmed. They ended up including 4 European teams, 2 Asian Teams, and 2 American teams. River will be in Group B and will have to face Shizmu S-Pulse of Japan, Olympique Lyon of France, and Reading FC of England. The two groups will look as follows:

Group A
Bolton Wanderers(England)
Chivas Guadalajara (Mexico)
Racing Santander (Spain)
Seongnam (Korea)

Group B
Olympique Lyon (France)
Reading FC (England)
River Plate (Argentina)
Shimizu S-Pulse (Japan)

Our toughest rival will be Olympique Lyon. The French side have won the last six (2002-2007) Ligue 1 (top French division) titles played! They have also been the runner-ups of the last two Peace Cups.

The winner of each group will face each other for the final match of the tournament. For more info, click here.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Gimnasia (LP): 0 - River Plate: 3 - Torneo Clausura 2007

Upon seeing the score, one may instantly think "Thank god! The old River is back!". Before you get excited, let's just say that the score lies a bit. In fact, in last week's 1-0 loss vs. Estudiantes, we played much better and dominated most of the match. I wouldn't say Gimnasia (LP) played better than us today, but it doesn't necessarily mean that we did good ourselves. Most of the players played poorly, and the score was over-inflated partly due to Kletnicki's (Gimnasia's goalkeeper) mistakes. In the first goal, he surprisingly jumped out too far in a center and crashed with his teammates. This left the goal open for Ernesto Farias to score. The second goal was by Leonardo Ponzio, after a far range shot that bounced off the goalkeeper and went it. The third goal, on the other hand, was not Kletnicki's fault and was more thanks to "el Tecla"'s great shot.

The best players of the game were without a doubt Ernesto Farias and Federico Lussenhoff. Farias, as mentioned earlier, scored two goals and is River's top goal scorer of the season (7 goals in 13 matches) despite not playing for a long time due to injuries. Lussenhoff, meanwhile, wasn't expected to play but did so because of Tuzzio's slow evolution from his injury. The defender stopped everything and had a fantastic night. No wonder Daniel Passarella has been requesting another loan! Other than those two, the only other ones that I liked were Juan Pablo Carrizo, who was secure like always, and Augusto Fernandez, who didn't shine too much, but did show interesting things.

Next week, the team must face Godoy Cruz, who will be looking for a win to avoid relegation.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Gimnasia (LP) - River: The Preview

River Plate will face Gimnasia (LP) tomorrow. A win will help us, not because it will get us closer to the top, but because it will give us more possibilities of entering the Copa Libertadores 2008. At the moment, "los millonarios" would be able to make it into the most prestigious South American tournament, but nothing is assured. Therefore, the three points tomorrow will be essential.
Daniel Passarella will field the following squad:
Juan Pablo Carrizo;
Paulo Ferrari-Danilo Gerlo-Eduardo Tuzzio-Victor Zapata;
A. Fernandez-Rene Lima-Leonardo Ponzio-Fernando Belluschi;
Ariel Ortega-Ernesto Farias;

Many players -such as Mauro Rosales, Cristian Nasuti, and Oscar Ahumada- will be out due to injuries. Fortunately for us, Ortega, who had been expelled vs. Estudiantes last Sunday, will be able to play due to the Article 225, which states that a club may use a suspended player if another player from the same team is on international duties. In this case, Radamel Falcao Garcia is with the Colombian National Team participating in an Asian tournament.

Gimnasia are currently second to last and only have 3 wins in 15 matches. Of these three wins, 2 have been at home, a stadium in which they've lost 4 times in this tournament and in which they will be facing River tomorrow. Two of their most dangerous players are Luciano Leguizamon and Santiago Silva. Leguizamon is Gimnasia's current top goalscorer with 5 goals, while Silva has scored 4 times. Fortunately for us, neither of the two will be able to play: Gimnasia doesn't want to pay the $100,000 clause for Leguizamon (he's on loan from River), and the Uruguayan Silva is still injured.

Tomorrow's match will be shown live on TyC Sports USA at 2:30 PM Pacific / 5:30 PM Eastern Time.

In other news, River's reserves faced German side Wolfsburg in the Monumental for a friendly match. The team from the Bundesliga were able to win 2-1, with Andres Rios scoring River's only goal. Also, Steaua Bucarest are planning on offering $16,000,000 dollars for Fernando Belluschi. They will meet with River's directives tomorrow, and if they make the expected offer, you can expect Fernando to migrate to Romania.

Friday, May 25, 2007

106th Anniversary!

Happy birthday to River Plate! Today, May 25, 2007, the club reaches its 106th anniversary, after being created on the same date in the year 1901.
In the clubs long history, there have been both glorious and poor moments. River fans of all ages have been able to live great times. From the great "la maquina" team in the 1940s -considered by many to be the best River team ever-, to the 1986 acquisitions of the Copa Libertadores and the Copa Intercontinental with historic legends, to the 1996-97 glorious reign of Ramon Diaz: the club has lived it all. Fantastic players, such as Norberto Alonso, Enzo Francescoli, Alfredo Di Stefano, Jose Moreno, Angel Labruna, Bernabe Ferreyra, Reinaldo Merlo, Ubaldo Fillol, the Onega brothers, Oscar Mas, Daniel Passarella, Pablo Aimar, Javier Saviola, Andres D'Alessandro, Ramon Diaz, Nery Pumpido, Javier Mascherano, Marcelo Salas, Esteban Cambiasso, Fernando Cavenaghi, Roberto Ayala, Juan Pablo Sorin, Ariel Ortega, Marcelo Gallardo, Luis "Lucho" Gonzalez, Leonardo Astrada, Martin Demichelis, etc, etc. have passed by the club. Many of them, in fact, came from River Plate's lower divisions.

"Los Millonarios", a nickname the team gained for buying players at worldwide record transfer fees in the 1930s, are one of the most important clubs in the world based on tournament wins. River Plate are currently the holders of the most Argentine league championship wins, 32, a total of 10 more than Boca Juniors, who have the second most. They are also the club to have won the most games and scored the most goals in the Argentine Premier Division in history. Another record held is three tri-champeonships in the league, something rarely done (for example, Boca have never been able to accomplish this task). As for international tournaments, the team doesn't have such a rich history, but still holds two Copa Libertadores (1986 & 1996), one Intercontinental Cup (1996), one Interamerican Cup (1987), and one Supercopa -the old Copa Sudamericana- (1997).

Just like every other football/soccer team, River have lived poor moments as well. Our current situation, is a sad, yet real example of this. Despite that, there have been even worse moments in the team's history. Even though I (fortunately) wasn't able to live it, the club lived 18 years (1957-1975) without winning a single title. I was often told how the team had great players and played great football, yet always ended up being runner-ups. Our current situation is nothing like that, since it's been just 3 years since we last won something, yet it is already miserable. Now imagine that with another 15 years attached to it!

Today is a day all River fans should celebrate. It's been 106 years, and that's not just a number: it's the creation of an unexplainable passion that's in our hearts. It's the beginning of the cause of all those nights in which we couldn't stop celebrating, and in other ocassions couldn't stop crying. Without River Plate, my life would be completely different, and I know many others feel the same. So today, let's forget about our poor present, of Passarella's errors, of Aguilar's corruptness. Today, we can all thank River for being in our lives. "Amen!"

Note:Click on the picture to enlarge.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Copa Sudamericana 2007 Draw Made

The draw for the 2007 Copa Sudamericana was made today. River Plate will start off in the Round of Sixteen and will face the winner of the match between Brazilian sides Corinthians and Botafogo. River has had quite a few experiences with Corinthians in the recent past: we eliminated Carlos Tevez and Javier Mascherano's ex-team from the Round of Sixteen of the Copa Libertadores in 2003 and 2006. But there's also a negative point: in 2005 the two teams faced each other, tieing 0-0 in the first leg in Brazil. In the second match, River was up 1-0 for most of the match, but Corinthians were able to tie with just a few minutes left till the end of the game. This allowed "el Timao" to advance thanks to the Away goal rule.

There has also been some transfer news in the last few days:

Mauro Rosales: He's only been at River for a few months, and has barely played any games. Still, it seems as if his good performances and his goal vs. Boca in the Superclasico have attracted some clubs: Olympiakos of Greece have a firm interest.

Fernando Belluschi: Steaua Bucarest faxed River inquiring how much the club would want for the midfielder. The Romanians have been added to the list of European teams that are looking foward to keeping the midfielder next semester.

Juan Pablo Carrizo: Aston Villa and Milan, among others, are interested in him. Some clubs are even willing to pay $10,000,000 dollars for the young goalkeeper. But the dirigentes will do everything possible to retain him, and will even try to balance the club's economy with the sales of other players.

Marco Ruben: Spartak of Russia offered $6,700,000 dollars for the ex-Rosario Central foward. Despite that, the foward says he has no hurry and would like to stay a while longer in River.

Danilo Gerlo: The defender received an offer from Switzerland.

Paulo Ferrari: A Spanish side wants him, so the directives are planning on negociating him to balance the club's annual finances.

Ernesto Farias: Monterrey of Mexico want to buy the ex-Estudiantes and Palermo player. Everything seems to indicate that he has a Mexican future.

Juan Marcelo Ojeda: A Mexican club is interested in him, and his chances of leaving are high.

Bernardo Leyenda: He doesn't convince too much, and hasn't even played a minute since his arrival a year ago. Despite that, the dirigentes are planning on renewing his loan due to the lack of players in his position.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

River Plate: 0 - Estudiantes: 1 - Torneo Clausura 2007

The final score between River Plate and Estudiantes (0-1) hides the truth. River dominated the whole first half, and played excellent football. In the second half, without Ariel Ortega who was red carded, los millonarios' level of play dropped, yet we still managed to play better than Estudiantes. Our rivals were lucky to score at the 48 minutes of the second half. River did not even deserve a tie: we deserved a win. Unfortunately, we had to face not only Estudiantes, but also the referree.
The Player Review -

Ariel Ortega: El burrito managed to play yet another good game. He made a great duo with Belluschi in the first half and was the heart of River's attack. In the first 45 minutes he received a yellow card due to protesting. In the second half he received the second yellow for a handball and was expelled. This caused River's offensiveness to drop, and will also leave us without Ortega next week vs. Gimnasia (LP).

Fernando Belluschi: Arguably his best game this semester. He played great with Ortega, and after "el burrito"'s expulsion, he was left as River's only leader. He contributed a lot to our offense and recuperated the ball as well. This was the closest he's gotten to last semester's Bellluschi.

Radamel Falcao Garcia: The Colombian foward also had a good game. He ran the whole game and was River' only foward for the last 45 minutes due to Ortega's red card. He wouldn't stop running and put in a great effort. He was forced to leave the field at the end of the game. Hopefully it isn't a new injury.

Juan Pablo Carrizo: Our goalkeeper just keeps on getting better and better. He didn't have much to do in the first half, but in the second half he saved plenty. Let's just hope he doesn't get his European papers ready this summer so he can stay a while longer.

Rene Lima: The young #5 had a good game. He opened up the field several times and gave nice passes. He impressed me much more than Oscar Ahumada, who didn't play because of an injury.

Nelson Rivas: The Colombian defender had a good game and was very solid. Was it a coincidence that Estudiantes scored in the last few minutes, when "Tyson" was out of the field due to an injury?

Furchi: A very bad game for the referee, who favored our rivals. Marco Ruben scored a legit goal towards the end of the game (45 minutes of the second half), which the ref called offsides on. That would have most probably meant a win for River, since Estudiantes wouldn't have had time to score the tie. As for the rest of the game, Furchi "forgot" to call obvious fouls in favor of River. Overall, a very poor performance from the ref, who cost us the 3 points.

Next week we will be facing Gimnasia (LP), though the game won't mean too much: today's loss has left River 8 points away from the top with just 4 games left. A championship win is nearly impossible.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

River - Estudiantes: The Preview

River Plate will be facing Estudiantes, the current champions of the Argentine league, tomorrow. A win will not benefit River too much, since we would be 6 points away from league leaders San Lorenzo (who won 1-0 vs. Newell's today), with just 4 matches remaining. The win would obviously help, but it is still nearly impossible to win the Clausura. Estudiantes, meanwhile, would be benefited more by a win, which would leave them just 3 points away from San Lorenzo.
Los Millonarios are expected to field the following team tomorrow:
Juan Pablo Carrizo;
Paulo Ferrari-Mateo Musacchio-Danilo Gerlo-Nelson Rivas;
Fernando Belluschi-Leonardo Ponzio-Rene Lima-Victor Zapata;
Radamel Falcao Garcia-Ariel Ortega;

Many normal starters will be missing. Ernesto Farias was expected to return, but ended up not progressing from his injury as expected. Cristian Nasuti, Federico Lussenhoff, Oscar Ahumada, and Mauro Rosales are all injured as well. Augusto Fernandez and Diego Galvan, meanwhile, are suspended and will not be able to be present.

Estudiantes have only lost one match this whole season (1-3 vs. Boca), and will be looking to continue their 9 match undefeated streak. They have many dangerous players, which will do anything possible to avoid Carrizo's clean sheet. Mariano Pavone and Jose Luis Calderon are two amazing fowards with lots of experience. Then there's Pablo Luguercio, a youngster who is Estudiantes' current top goal scorer. The team also has great midfielders, such as Juan Sebastian Veron (Argentine international) and Jose Sosa (will be leaving to Bayern Munich over the summer). They most definitely won't be easy to control.

The match will be shown live on Fox Sports en Espanol, Fox Soccer Channel, and Fox Sports World Canda at 12:00 PM Pacific/3:00 PM Eastern Time.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Peace Cup Coming Up

River Plate will play the Peace Cup in South Korea this summer (July 2007). The tournament will consist of eight teams: 4 Europeans, 1 South American (River), 1 North American, 1 African, and 1 Asian side. Reading FC of England and Seongnam Ilhwa of South Korea are the only other known participants for now. It should be an interesting tournament, not only because of the diverse teams, but also financially: $400,000 dollars will be given to each participant, while the runner-up would keep $500,000 dollars and the winner $2,000,000. The tournament takes place every two years, and will be the first time River will participate in it. In the last edition (2005), Boca Juniors were the South American representatives.

The eight participants are divided into two groups of four teams. In the first round, each team faces each other once (3 games per club), while the club who accumulates the most points advances to the final, which is played between the winners of each group.

In other news, the Pablo Aimar rumours are still alive, while another idol has been rumoured to return: Juan Pablo Sorin. It should be interesting to see how this works out, if it is that they return. Remember, Gallardo, Salas, and Ortega all returned, but none were able to fill up to their expectations.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Transfer News: May 17th

River, despite not playing well and having a very poor performance, has attracted several foreign teams due to the high quality players the club has. One may have thought that this semester would be an exception to the high number of sales "los millonarios" make every 6 months, but that is not the case:

05/17/07 -

Pablo Aimar: The newspaper Crónica have stated that Aimar has been talking with River's staff and has expressed his desire to return to Argentina. "El Payaso" will always be welcomed in River, especially when we are in our current situation. The sooner he returns, the better. Grande Aimar!

Juan Pablo Carrizo: Milan of Italy, as well as several English and Russian clubs, still want him. As soon as he gets his European passport, you can expect him to be on his way to the old continent.

Juan Marcelo Ojeda: Surprisingly, the ex-Rosario Central goalkeeper might leave. He has barely played one game this whole semester (vs. Colo Colo when River was already out of the Copa Libertadores).... and that is exactly why he wants to leave. If Carrizo's departure becomes a reality, Ojeda will become the new starter. If not, he prefers to leave and gain minutes in a different team. So far, there aren't any known clubs that are actually interested in him.

Fernando Belluschi: The business group that owns 60% of his transfer wants him to leave in June. Some Italian, Spanish, and Russian clubs want him, so he isn't expected to stay for too long.

Ariel Ortega: The main surprise of the day was Necaxa of Mexico's interest in "el burrito". Ariel loves River and has recently been gaining more minutes. It seemed as if he was slowly regaining his spot, but now the Mexicans want him on loan for a year, and he is willing to join them. Will he leave?

Paulo Ferrari: Sevilla of Spain, who won the UEFA Cup a few days ago, are interested in the ex-Rosario Central player. They've been wanting him since last year and this time it looks like he'll be on his way to Europe.

Rubens Sambueza: A Greek club, said to be AEK, have enquired about "canito"'s price. He hasn't gotten too many minutes, and was never able to live up to his hype, despite being at the club for years now. If the interest is firm, I don't see what will stop his transfer.

Augusto Fernandez: Some teams requested an asking price, but River would like to keep the youngster for atleast another year.

Marco Ruben: A $6,700,000 dollar offer from a Russian team is expected to arrive within the next few days. Of the $8,000,000 River paid for the Central trio (Villagra, Ojeda, and Ruben), approximately $4-4.5 million dollars were paid for the foward. He's been at the club for less than a semester, but the offer sounds tempting to some dirigentes. Does this mean the loss of yet another young talent?

Ernesto Farias: An unknown Mexican team is interested in him. Close friends of him have recently expressed his desire to migrate, so el Tecla, just like many other players, may be well on his way.

Raúl Bobadilla: A young foward from River's lower divisions, who has never played a match in our first division. 50% of his transfer was sold to Concordia Basel for $500,000 dollars.

Julio Cesar Caceres: The international Paraguayan defender played for River in 2006 on loan. Since then, Passarella has insisted that the club sign him, and has done it yet again. This year, he's been a starter for Tigres in every single match the Mexicans have played, so his arrival sounds complicated. Still, "los millonarios" will make an effort to bring him in on loan.

Walter Erviti: An Argentine midfielder who plays for Monterrey of Mexico, a club that was able to win the Mexican tournament with Passarella as coach. Since we have no solid left midfielder, and Zapata will be leaving (thank god!), "el Kaiser" has requested him.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Video: La Hinchada de River Plate

Here's a video I made of hundreds of River Plate fans. It is made up of hundreds of photos that were taken within the last few years. If you have time, check it out:


Sunday, May 13, 2007

San Lorenzo: 0 - River Plate: 0 - Torneo Clausura 2007

River Plate tied 0-0 today with San Lorenzo de Almagro. The game itself was not entertaining at all, and neither side really reached the others' with danger. You may say San Lorenzo was the better team, but they didn't play a good game either and barely had any shots.

No one other than Ortega actually played well for River. Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you:

The Worst of Worst -

Diego Galvan: Basically expelled himself at the 3 minutes of the first half by elbowing an opponent. He left River with only 10 players and pretty much took away our offensive chances. Why am I saying this? Think about it: Zapata and Ahumada don't have a clue on how to attack, leaving Augusto Fernandez as our only offensive midfield. How is Augusto going to get the ball up front all by himself? In other words, Galvan took away the teams hope of actually taking the three points home.

Victor Zapata: In my opinion, the worst player on the field. Horrible, horrible, horrible game. It was a typical "Zapata game": take three hours to give a pass, move like a robot, make your moves and passes obvious, and then give the opposition a nice counterattack. A horrible player who didn't contribute to the team neither defensively nor offensively. Hopefully he leaves the team in June, when he will become a free agent.

Danilo Gerlo: Gave away a ball that almost ended up being an assist for Lavezzi (the only reason it didn't end up in goal is because Carrizo saved it). That was San Lorenzo's only clear chance in the first half. Other than that, Gerlo didn't do much.

The Rest of the Team -

Juan Pablo Carrizo: Surprisingly, he didn't have to do much, due to San Lorenzo not having too many clear chances. When he was needed, though, he made every River fan feel secure. He continues being the only player on the team who has been in good form in every game this semester.

Ariel Ortega: He was one of the few players who was actually trying to go out there and win. He did some interesting things and I would love to see him receive even more minutes.

Radamel Falcao Garcia: His first game as a starter since his injury. He played about 70 minutes, but was never able to take a shot. It wasn't necessarily his fault, though: the ball never got to him.

Augusto Fernandez: I think he was our best player behind Ortega. He tried to attack but couldn't do it all by himself. Nothing spectacular, but atleast he made an effort.

Oscar Ahumada: The Fox commentators praised him, but I personally didn't like him much. It may have been due to his few commitments to our offense. We needed to attack a lot more, and he was helping much in that aspect. When Ponzio came in during the second half, the team started attacking a bit more.

Marco Ruben: Good player. He was a sub and came in for Falcao in the second half. Just like everyone else, he wasn't able to attack with too much clarity, but atleast was able to make the team move up a bit more.

Overall, the team was everything but impressive. The tie did not benefit either side: River remains six points away from the top with 5 games left, while San Lorenzo's difference over Boca might be minimized to only one point depending on Boca's result vs. Arsenal today. If we had won games like the ones vs. Colon and Independiente (ended 0-0 and 1-1 respectively), today's result wouldn't have been at all bad. San Lorenzo is a very tough team to beat (remember, they beat Boca 3-0 and won every single game in their home stadium this season -until today-). But due to our current situation, the tie has basically left us out of the fight for the tournament. Six points away from the leaders, with tough matches such as the ones vs. Estudiantes, Velez, Godoy Cruz, etc. ahead of us. There is no way we are winning anything this season. I guess will just have to wait till the Apertura to renew our hopes.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

San Lorenzo - River: The Preview

River will be playing the current league leaders (San Lorenzo de Almagro) tomorrow. The match itself will be played in CASLA's home stadium, el Nuevo Gasometro, and will be an extremely difficult match for "los millonarios".

Daniel Passarella is planning on starting the following players in tomorrow's game:
Juan Pablo Carrizo;
Paulo Ferrari-Cristian Nasuti-Danilo Gerlo-Nelson Rivas;
Diego Galván-A. Fernández-Oscar Ahumada-Victor Zapata;
Radamel Falcao Garcia-Ariel Ortega;

There were quite a few surprises in the line-up. First off, Ortega will be a starter alongside Falcao, while Marco Ruben will be on the bench. Also, Fernando Belluschi and Eduardo Tuzzio won't even be substitutes, but that's because they have minor injuries. Belluschi's absence means the return of Diego Galvan, who will play on the right side, causing Augusto Fernandez to move more towards the middle.

I don't expect River to win for two reasons:
1) We've been playing horrible lately. Meanwhile, San Lorenzo have been doing very well.
2) The Gerlo-Rivas duo, the same one that cost us the elimination from the Copa Libertadores, will once again appear. Not only that, but the two "muertos" (Zapata and Ahumada) will be in the midfield. Dear god!

San Lorenzo will be a tough team to beat: they've only lost twice (vs. Estudiantes and Velez) and have won every single match they played in their home stadium this season. Their most dangerous player will probably be ex-River player Gaston "la gata" Fernandez. In this tournament alone, he has already scored 6 goals and has given several assists. But he's not the only good player they have: Ezequiel Lavezzi, who was wanted by River in January, as well as Cristian Ledesma and Osmar Ferreyra (two ex-River players) are also very dangerous. A win would leave River 3 points away from San Lorenzo, but could also give Boca access to the first place spot (depending on their result vs. Arsenal). The great debate is whether River should go out looking for the win to remain in the battle for the tournament or to lose on purpose so Boca wouldn't be able to reach the top. What will happen? Watch the match live on Fox Sports en Espanol tomorrow at 12:00 PM Pacific / 3:00 PM Eastern Time to find out.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

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

Sorry for the post delay, I've been a bit busy. Either way, I don't think it's a post-review many of you would be excited about. River tied 1-1 with Independiente and lost a great opportunity (again) to minimize the difference between us and San Lorenzo to 4 points.

The team didn't have a bad start. To tell you the truth, the first 25 minutes weren't bad at all. River wasn't showing fantastic football, but they were clearly controlling the match. Then, Augusto Fernandez scored to give us the 1-0 lead over "los diablos rojos". After that, the team seemed to relax, and Independiente were able to find the 1-1 tie thanks to an inspired Rodrigo Diaz (who came in for an injured Daniel Montenegro). Later on, Independiente almost took the 3 points since River would not attack clearly.

The Player Review -

Augusto Fernandez: River's best player, despite his red card in the second half. He scored River's only goal, and was the only one who actually seemed to want to attack. Fortunately, he will be able to play on Sunday vs. Independiente due to River being able to take use of the 225 Article (allows a club team to bring in a suspended player when another player is on International duty.. in this case, Augusto Fernandez for Nicolas Dul, who is with Argentina's youth teams).

Matias Abelairas: Tried to attack several times and didn't have a bad game (definitely a better option than Zapata). The only thing that caused me to be angry at him is the time it took him to react to Independiente's goal. He was standing next to Machin (who scored) the whole time and took forever to realize that the ball was going to go to him. He could have avoided the tie if he was more alert. Watch the replay to see what I mean. The replay from the back angle is the best to see what I'm referring to.

Oscar Ahumada: Un nuerto. He gets worse and worse everytime. He's my new Zapata. :D I can't wait till the kid Domingo comes back. He's a genious, and Ahumada.. well, he's not!

Fernando Belluschi: Very, very, very poor performance. Will he ever return to his oldself again?

I don't feel like reviewing the rest of the team. It's pretty much pointless. Two words sum them all up, though: low performance. No one really did much. After the match several hundred fans gathered in the stadium to protest and request Passarella's departure. "El Kaiser" replied by saying that they are "going to have to keep on cursing at me for 2 years and 7 months more (when his contract ends)". **Sigh**

River's chances of keeping the tournament are still alive: a win on Sunday vs. San Lorenzo would put us only one point away from them with 5 matches remaining. Even if we do win this game, I still don't see us lifting the trophy. The team has been having very poor performances for a while now, and we still have several tough matches ahead (i.e. - Estudiantes, Godoy Cruz, Velez, etc.). I don't see anything positive happening, at least this semester, but still..... Aguante River!

Saturday, May 5, 2007

River - Independiente: The Preview

River will be facing Independiente tomorrow for the 13th fecha of the Torneo Clausura 2007. The match will be played in the Monumental, River's home stadium.

Los Millonarios are expected to field the following team tomorrow:

Juan Pablo Carrizo;
Paulo Ferrari-Cristian Nasuti-F. Lussenhoff-Villagra/Dominguez;
A. Fernandez-Fernando Belluschi-Leonardo Ponzio-Galvan/Abelairas;
Marco Ruben-Andres Rios/Sebastian Sciorilli;

Paulo Ferrari and Leonardo Ponzio are returning to their starting spots after their respective injuries. The rest of the team will be the same as the one we've been seeing lately, expected for Victor Zapata and Mauro Rosales not being included. The ex-Newell's player (Rosales) has been injured and will not be back till June! This means he will miss every match in May, including several important games such as the ones vs. Independiente, San Lorenzo, and Estudiantes. Ernesto Farias has not returned from his injury yet either. Fortunately, Radamel Falcao has been progressing well and will be on the bench tomorrow. He may even play 20-30 minutes. As for other injuries, Eduardo Tuzzio is still not ready to return to the fields, and won't even be on the bench.

The controversial point of the match was the exclusion of Ariel Ortega from the list of concentrated players. "El Burrito" even reached a point in which he threatened to leave to San Lorenzo at the end of the semester. Daniel Passarella then clarified that he had a nice chat with him and that the two have a very nice illusion for the future. Hopefully, Ortega doesn't leave, not only because of how much we all love him, but also because it would have been a waste of $2,000,000+ dollars.

Independiente accumulates three wins in twelve matches. Their last win was last week, vs. Velez, although "El Fortin" was made up of substitutes. Independiente's most dangerous player will be ex-River star Daniel Montenegro. He has an extremely good shot accuracy from outside the box, is very speedy, and gives nice passes. He will be the player that our defense will have to control the most. Two other players to look out for (if they play) will be Jose Moreno and German Denis. Both are fowards and are Independiente's top goal-scorers this season (2 goals each).

San Lorenzo, the current league leaders, lost 2-1 today vs. Velez. A win tomorrow would mean a difference of just 4 points between the us and them (and we face each other next week). Unforunately, we could have made it a difference of only 1 point if we would have beaten Colon on Wednesday. Oh well.

The match will be shown live on Fox Sports en Espanol at 12:00 PM Pacific / 3:00 PM Eastern Time. It will also be shown on tape delay on Fox Soccer Channel and Fox Sports World Canada at 2:00 PM Pacific/5:00 Eastern Time.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Colon: 0 - River Plate: 0 - Torneo Clausura 2007

River Plate and Colon de Santa Fe tied today (0-0). The match made up the postponed game the two had for the 8th fecha of the Torneo Clausura 2007. River lost a great opportunity, and are now 3 points away from Boca and 7 from San Lorenzo. This has basically confirmed River's championshipless semester.

No comment.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Colon - River: The Preview

Colon de Santa Fe and River Plate will be making up the suspended match for the 8th Fecha of the Torneo Clausura 2007 tomorrow. There is one major surprise in the line-up: it's the inclusion of 16-year old Mateo Mussachio as a starter over Nelson Rivas. Will Rivas stay after his loan ends? Everything seems to indicate that the answer is "no". Fede Dominguez will return to the first team, due to Tuzzio being injured. The other 9 players will be the same ones that beat Rosario Central.

The following team will be seen tomorrow in Santa Fe:
Juan Pablo Carrizo;
Mateo Musacchio-Cristian Nasuti-Federico Lussenhoff-Domínguez;
A.Fernández-Oscar Ahumada- Fernando Belluschi-Victor Zapata;
Mauro Rosales-Marco Ruben;

Colon have accumulated 12 points in 11 games, with a total of 2 wins (both away from home). One of their most dangerous players will be Ruben Ramirez who has scored 4 goals. They have good players and will want to renovate their attitude by having a different coach for the first time. A win for River will leave us just 1 point from Boca Juniors and 5 from league leaders San Lorenzo de Almagro. We must face Ramon Diaz's side (San Lorenzo) in two fechas, and that could minimize our difference even more.

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

Click on the picture to enlarge it.