The second week of The Chilean Experience has passed and Eion Smith returns to sum up the week…
REAL POTOSÍ 3-1 UNIVERSIDAD DE CHILE (COPA SUDAMERICANA 1ST ROUND)
PALESTINO 1-1 UNIVERSIDAD DE CHILE (PRIMERA DIVISION)
It was another disappointing week for La U. Defeat in Bolivia leaves the team with it all to do in the second leg although an early away goal was a huge bonus. There was finally some points put on the board in the league with the draw at Palestino. It was a good point for the team at a difficult ground to go to.
One thing that stood out to me this week as I continued my learning process was that Universidad can’t defend. It was mentioned last week but I really want to talk about it this week. Against Rangers, the defence wasn’t really troubled that much but were caught out by being too open and casual. Against Palestino, there was a noted attempt for the whole team to be more compact and to try and counter Palestino. And with a back 3 (or back 5 as it was most of the time) you rarely expect to see the keeper worked much. However, Johnny Herrera will be furious when he watches the match back. Too many times during both games were attackers allowed the opportunity to run at the defence and keeper. The tackling was awful at times and there was clear panic and disorganisation. This is quickly becoming a huge problem that is about to ruin La U’s season before it even begins. Marco Antonio Figueroa needs to cut out the problems on the training ground or he may be out of a job.
On the subject of defending, special mention goes to the defending of Palestino’s goal. It was a simple corner to defend yet nobody picked up a man. And when I say that I literally mean that Universidad defenders were standing around watching as Palestino scored. Never in Gutierrez’s life will he ever be afforded that much space in the 6 yard box at a set piece. I have never seen anything like it (not even in park football). To see it in the top division of any country is an absolute joke and every Universidad defender should be ashamed by it.
Another negative from this week has been discipline. Following the draw at Palestino the Universidad players surrounded the referee and Charles Aránguiz was sent off for what looked like dissent. This, like the defending, was a complete joke. I love Aránguiz and I think he is an excellent player but there is absolutely no defending being sent off for dissent. It shows immaturity and selfishness of the highest degree as Universidad are without their best player for a few games now.
Now for the positives and the only real positive was the fact that the team looked like they were starting to gel and get into the playing style of Figueroa. The response of the team to going behind by scoring almost immediately from kick off showed great character and they did not give in when it got scrappy and physical in the second half. If this continues then it is only a matter of time before the wins and goals start flowing.
Special mention for my player of the week, Rubén Farfán. He was the goalscorer against Palestino and has been impressive since joining from Union La Calera in the summer. At just 21, he looks like he could be a crucial player in the future for La U and the national team.
I have also made a decision to bestow a nickname on a player. Luciano Civelli was described as looking “all leg” last week and, following his performance this week (and the fact that he fell over comically), he shall be known as “Bambi” from here on out.
Overall, week 2 has been a real downer but that was too be expected. Not every week supporting a team is happiness and winning so I can’t get too downhearted about it. Plus, the season is still young and there is plenty of time for La U to turn it around. There are positives to take from this week like the effort and battling of the players and Rubén Farfán’s performances so there is a bright side to this week.
WEEK 3 PREVIEW
Universidad de Chile are aiming to turn around a 2 goal deficit in the 2nd leg of their Copa Sudamericana tie against Bolivian side Real Potosí. An early away goal in Bolivia is a bonus for La U but can they turn it around on Wednesday? The team then returns to Primera Division action on Saturday with a home tie against Cobresal. Cobresal have had a solid start to the season and will provide La U with a difficult test at home.
Hopefully you enjoyed this summary of my week watching Chilean football. Please feel free to leave feedback down below or over on Twitter. Check back next Sunday for Week 3 of The Chilean Experience.