This time around, Simeone presented us with a 4-2-2-2 -like formation. Although it was supposedly a 4-3-1-2 on paper, this is what it looked like on the field:
Juan Pablo Carrizo;
Paulo Ferrari-Cristian Nasuti-Gustavo Cabral-Cristian Villagra;
Oscar Ahumada-Matias Abelairas;
Mauro Rosales-Ariel Ortega;
Radamel Falcao Garcia-Sebastian Abreu;
The only goal of the match came through a penalty, taken by the Uruguayan Sebastian Abreu. Although the result implies a boring match, River displayed pretty attractive football (considering it was only a friendly game) and had complete domination over San Lorenzo. The final scoreline was rather minor, though it could have been increased if Paulo Ferrari had not missed his penalty shot. Either way, the team left me (and most River fans in general) happy with what they showed in their 90 minute of fame.
The Player Review -
Juan Pablo Carrizo: The goalkeeper seemed to be a little risky, just like vs. Boca, yet he had some good saves.
The Whole Defense: Solid. Except for a header by Bilos in the commencing moments of the match, San Lorenzo had little to no action in River's back-zone.
Oscar Ahumada: Good game for the DMF. He was over-praised by the Fox commentators, though there could have been something I missed. Still, I believe Ponzio deserves the spot over him.
Matias Abelairas: Recuperated a lot and did well. Not enough to deserve a spot in the starting eleven, but "Pitu" continues being a good alternative for those busy Libertadores-Clausura schedules.
Ariel Ortega: "El Burrito" continues being a magician. He had great jukes, those extremely impressive passes, those precise shots. He just played the first 45 minutes, but when he was on the field he was on fire.
Mauro Rosales: "Speedy" brought plenty of speed to the game (who would have thought that a guy with that nickname would do so?!). Still, he has plenty of room for improvement: his centers have gotten worse, and his moves are often predictable. If he completes a good pre-season, though, he will be very important to the team this coming semester.
Radamel Falcao Garcia: In Simeone's new system, Falcao is no longer the "goleador", but rather the complimenting striker. He was very active on the field, gave good passes, and almost scored a goal or two. In my opinion, he continues proving that he should be on the first team.
Sebastian Abreu: Took his penalty in a very good manner. In the rest of the match, he showed willingness and had some interesting things, though I would still put him behind Falcao.
The Substitutes -
Alexis Sanchez: The Chilean came in for the second half and completely upgraded River's offensive powers. His jukes dazzeled fans and pundits alike, while San Lorenzo's player could not stop fouling him. In fact, our only goal came from a penalty that was produced by a foul against him. From my point of view, he was the man of the match.
Diego Buonanotte: "El Enano" entered the field in the second half as well, and had a good game. He ran a lot and gave some great passes (including one that left Falcao one-on-one with the opposing goalkeeper). There is no doubt that he will be a vital super-sub in 2008.
Overall River left us with a positive image. They constantly attacked, yet maintained a solid defense. Another point I noticed was that the team displayed fast football, with many fast touches - something that was often missing in Passarella's era.
On Saturday we will be facing Boca Juniors once again. It will be another friendly match, but definitely not a game you'll want to miss.