After a near three week international break, Eion Smith returns with The Chilean Experience and boy is it eventful…
EVERTON 2-1 UNIVERSIDAD DE CHILE (PRIMERA DIVISION)
LANUS 4-0 UNIVERSIDAD DE CHILE (COPA SUDAMERICANA ROUND OF 16 FIRST LEG)
UNIVERSIDAD DE CHILE 2-0 AUDAX ITALIANO (PRIMERA DIVISION)
It’s been a rough week for Universidad de Chile with two defeats on the road. The first came in a tight game at Everton before a pummeling in Argentina against Lanus (which will be focused on later). However, a good Sunday evening win over Audax Italiano at home lifted the mood around the club a little to end Week 7.
I would like to open this week with a friendly welcome back. It’s been nearly three weeks since The Chilean Experience was last posted on the blog and I (and I hope I’m not alone here) sure am glad to be back watching Universidad. Now, with the niceties out of the way, let’s get down to business…
My first thought is all about how excited I am for FIFA 14 coming out soon based purely on the fact that the Primera Division is in this year meaning that La U are in the game. When I found out this news I was genuinely excited and I am not ashamed to admit that. There are a few games that I am going to play with the side with the main one being against Rangers (see Week 1). It’s going to be a good day when I get my hands on the game.
Onto the real football and this has not been a great first week back after the break. Two defeats on the road and both very different as well. The Everton game is a tough one to accept after taking the lead (my man Charles Aránguiz strikes again) and the team should have got a point at least but there is an argument to be made that it was a slightly weakened side with the Lanus game in mind. Regardless, it was a tough one.
The Lanus game though was just embarrassing for more than one reason. Now I have stated many times that Universidad can struggle with the basic concept of defending at times and I have been a little bit critical of it more than once but there are no words to describe how bad it was in Argentina. Santiago Silva is known as “The Tank” for a reason and he showed it in midweek by just bullying the defence. He was left unmarked for the first as was Lucas Malero for the second but those weren’t even the worst. Malero’s second goal saw him literally walk past five players and into the box before scoring. You generally have a problem when someone walks past two or three but five is beyond the joke. Maybe some of it was down to the fact that Marco Antonio Figueroa decided to match up with Lanus’ 4-3-3 and the players weren’t used to it. Maybe it was the missing Juan Ignacio Sills. Maybe it was the fact that Osvaldo Gonzalez and Alberto Acevedo have barely seen playing time yet started at the back. Or maybe (and this is a long shot) it was because that the team performance was so awful and devoid of anything remotely positive that they got torn to shreds by an OK Argentinean team. Simply put, that was appalling.
I hate bringing this up again but I have to – why does a Universidad player have to get himself sent off every single week? The worst part is that this week it was the vice-captain (Johnny Herrera) and a key component of the midfield (Rodrigo Rojas). In the same game. Within four minutes of each other. After all the substitutions had been made. Oh, and the vice-captain just so happens to be the goalkeeper as well! It is a joke and is quickly becoming an issue for La U. There’s only so many times multiple people can get suspended before it comes back to bite the whole team in the behind. I understand passion and fighting spirit and all that good stuff but that is no excuse for every single player getting himself sent off at some point. I hate it so much.
Perhaps one positive to come out of the sending offs is that Luis Marin will get a chance to impress in goals. I’m not entriely convinced by Herrera. I think he is a crucial part of the squad due to his passion and leadership but he is not the most reliable keeper in the world. Marin has been getting more game time recently and hopefully that continues.
On a positive note, Audax Italiano were beaten. Charles Aránguiz netted again from the spot and Sills returned to the side with a goal. This is the type of win that Universidad should be getting throughout the season and that three points places the side nicely at the halfway stage (roughly) of the Apertura sitting six points behind leaders Cobreloa with nine games to go. A good run of results will hopefully get La U into title contention and make the end of this half very exciting.
WEEK 8 PREVIEW
Week 8 of The Chilean Experience is a big one for Universidad de Chile. First, they look to overcome their first leg deficit in the Copa Sudamericana Round of 16 tie with Lanus in Santiago. Can they overturn four goals and progress? League action follows with a tricky game at current champions Union Española. Union sit a lowly 12th but only three points behind Universidad. Can La U come away with a good result? Also, the second Player of the Month will be revealed. Who has impressed enough in the last four weeks? All of that and more in Week 8.
That was Week 7 of The Chilean Experience. If you enjoyed then please leave feedback or if you have any questions then ask away. The Long Ball is now on Facebook (here’s a nice little link to it) so if you could leave a like and share the page then that would be fantastic. Tune in next week for Week 8 and Player of the Month.