Saturday, September 8, 2007

River - Velez: The Preview

River will be facing Velez Sarsfield tomorrow, in what will be yet another decisive match for the squad. We are currently experiencing a few problems up front, which will almost surely take away a big part of our offensive power. In fact, only 1 of our 6 fowards will be fit anr ready to play:

- Alexis Sanchez is away with the Chilean National Team.
- Radamel Falcao Garcia is away with the Colombian National Team.
- Mauro Rosales is injured.
- Ariel Ortega is injured.
- Rolando Zarate is neither on international duties, nor injured, but is not fit to play the complete 90 minutes.

All these problems leave Marco Ruben as our only first-team foward who will be able to start. The result of this has caused Daniel Passarella to call up youngster Andres Rios to train with the top squad, where he will be one of the 11 starters on Sunday.

Another problem is that with Ariel Ortega's injury, River also lost a playmaker. This was a fundamental part of the team, and the change in gameplay has been obvious since we returned to the 4-3-1-2 formation. Unfortunately, "el Burrito" was our best bet in this position. Diego Buonanotte, Fernando Belluschi, and Augusto Fernandez all had a possibility of taking over the role, but the chosen one was Sixto Peralta. This will mean that one of the other 3 offensive midfielders that played vs. Newell's (Belluschi, Augusto Fernandez, and Abelairas) will have to wait on the bench.

The following players are expected to play from the beginning:

Juan Marcelo Ojeda;
Paulo Ferrari-Nicolas Sanchez-Eduardo Tuzzio-Cristian Villagra;
Augusto Fernandez-Oscar Ahumada-Fernando Belluschi;
Sixto Peralta;
Marco Ruben-Andres Rios;

Velez will be a tough team, and their ranking shows it: they are currently only one point away from Boca Juniors, and will be needing this win just as much as we do. They have some great players in the squad, including creative midfielders Damian Escudero and Sergio Sena. Up front, Gustavo Balvorin and Santiago Silva are no strangers to scoring, and should be taken as a serious threat.

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

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