Recopa Sudamericana – First Leg (Ecuador)By: Mauro | August 25th, 2010
If this cup final seems like it snuck up on you, well, you’re not the only one feeling that way because it snuck up on me too. But the winner of the 2009 Copa Libertadores is facing the winner of the 2009 Copa Sudamericana in this one and I’m hoping it’ll be a good one.
Estudiantes de La Plata arrived yesterday in Quito to face the 2009 Sudamericana champions LDU Quito in the Estadio La Casa Blanca in Quito. But Estudiantes will not arrive at full strength.
They’ll be without strikers, Rodrigo López (knee injury) and Gáston Fernández (shoulder injury). But they’ll also be without goalkeeper Agustín Orión and defender Leandro Desábato who are both suspended after being sent off in their last 2010 Libertadores match against eventual champions Internacional.
But midfielder Gabriel Mercado is back from an injury he had to his clavicle and is expected to start. But, coach Alejandro Sabella has yet to reveal the starting line up but rumor has it it’ll be the same one that earned a draw in the Argentine Primera at the weekend against Banfield.
Since winning the Copa Libertadores, Estudiantes have lost a few key players including goal scoring machine Mauro Boselli who took his goals to Wigan Athletic in England’s Premier League. Also, transferred away were Marcos Angeleri (now with Sunderland in the EPL), Mariano Andújar (now with Catania in Serie A), Christian Cellay (now with Boca Juniors) and Rolando Schiavi, who pulled a Henrik Larsson and was only on loan with the club until the end of the Libertadores and is now back with his club, Newell’s Old Boys.
Recopa Sudamericana Fun Fact: US born player, Michael Hoyos (born in Fountain Valley, CA), who traveled to Quito with the squad, could be on the bench for Estudiantes. Hoyos featured for the Argentine U21s recently, so take it easy there US Soccer geeks!
LDU Quito are back in this match as the reigning Recopa Sudamericana champions, as well as the 2009 Copa Sudamericana championsx. Liga are playing on their ground and are looking to gain some headway for the return leg next week in Argentina. With a win in this series, LDU Quito win their 4th international title in the club’s history, all under Argentine coach Edgardo Bauza.
Despite the changes in line ups since their first international title in the 2008 Libertadores, (most notably Joffre Guerrón and Enrique Vera) LDU Quito are still the best team in Ecuador (top of the table in the local league). But not all is rosy. They lost the Copa Suruga against the J-League champs Tokyo FC and have struggled to cover more recent transfers (mostly Claudio Bieler on the forward line).
At the weekend, however, LDU Quito fielded a mixed side of youngsters and starters that earned them a 1-0 win over local side, Olmedo. The win puts them comfortably atop the standings in Ecuador with 20 points in the 2nd stage of their season.
These two faced off on one prior occasion in the 2008 Libertadores (which LDU Quito went on to win) in the Round of 16 where LDU Quito won the first leg at La Casa Blanca, 2-0. Estudiantes won the second leg 2-1, but gave up an important away goal that eliminated Estudiantes.
My pick: Away goals rule does not apply here. This one will go 2-1 to LDU Quito. Local fans will go home happy and Estudiantes will show that the bomb scare they had on arrival in Guayaquil, Ecuador, rattled them. Couple that with the fact that they can’t field an out and out proven striker and that their starting goal keeper is suspended, this one does not end on a positive note for Estudiantes. But LDU Quito will not run riot. They have failed to replace players like Damián Manso and Enrique Vera and don’t have the goal scoring prowess they once had with Claudio Bieler and Joffré Guerrón.
Fox Sports en Español will be airing this match LIVE at 9pm EST. Come back to check out the match report and then leave without leaving me not one comment. Remember that Colo Colo vs. Universidad de Sucre will be aired at 1am EST due to coverage of this final match.