Sep 29, 2011

Isidro Metapan - Colorado Rapids

CONCACAF Champions League, Group Stage

Terrible run of form for the Rapids, as they have a dreadful series of 8 consecutive matches without a win in all competitions, and are now in danger to miss the play-offs in the MLS. Since in the Champions league they already have very slim chances of progressing, they have chosen to focus all their energies on the domestic league. And that translates into the fact that a lot of their regular first-team players have been left behind in the USA, with only a few of them and a bunch of reserves/youngsters making the trip to El Salvador. So it pretty much looks like the Colorado Rapids are throwing in the towel for the Champions League season. Isidro Metapan are not a great name in the Central America area, but they are a solid home team, proof of that being their excellent 2-0 win over Santos Laguna. 3 points in this match will take them to a total of 9 points, which should 99% percent be enough to clinch the qualification, so expect a determined performance from them, especially since the opponent is one they should be beating comfortably. Odds moved a bit, but there is still a lot of value in this bet. GL!

Metapan (-0.25 AH) @ 1.97, 4/10
Result: 1-3, LOST

Sep 28, 2011

Monterrey - Herediano

CONCACAF Champions League, Group Stage

Despite a relatively easy group, this should be a capital match for Monterrey. After their 2 losses (the shock 0-1 home loss with the Sounders, and the 0-1 loss at Comunicaciones), the Mexicans are left to sweat in these last 2 rounds of the group stage. Even with a win tonight, if Comunicaciones to the expected and also beat Seattle, everything will go down to the wire in the last round. But untill then, one thing is certain for Monterrey: they must win tonight. And if we look at the first leg match, this shouldn't be a problem at all. They won 5-0 in Costa Rica, despite using a pretty much second team, with only a few regulars on the field. For tonight, the expected line-up looks much better, as Humberto Suazo and Aldo de Nigris expected to command the Mexican attack, with Neri Cardozo also expected to start from the first minute. Other than them, Monterreu won't be using their best squad, they never do, but we'll see quite a few regulars on the pitch. Herediano is pretty much out of the competition, although still with mathematical chances following their last week surprise win in Seattle. However, the quality difference is huge in Monterrey's favor, they've already beaten Herediano 5-0 with a mixed squad, and are forced to record 3 points tonight. So I expect them to take the match serious, and win by at least a couple of goals. GL!

Monterrey (-1.75 AH) @ 1.82, 4/10
Result: 1-0, LOST

Sep 26, 2011

Nacional - Olimpia

Paraguay Primera Division, Clausura

Both teams are coming after mid-week Copa Sudamericana matches, but with opposed feelings. Olimpia managed a win in Ecuador, 2-1 with Emelec, passing through to the next round, while Nacional are out after being trashed by Aurora in the heights of Bolivia. So morale should be different for these teams, but Nacional should still have a small advantage here, as they can now fully focus on the domestic tournament. With Olimpia, things are a bit more complicated, as they have to take on this match between 2 Sudamericana matches (will play the first leg of the quarter-finals next week), and coach Pelusso has already announced he will be making some changes for this derby, in order to keep his players fresh. No official line-up has yet been announced, but it is expected that at least 5 regulars will be out, leaving Olimpia with a much weakened team. So they shouldn't be set as favorites here, definitely. Nacional is a strong team, current champions, and with Sudamericana out of the way, they can now focus on defending their title, and I'm quite confident they won't lose tonight. GL!

Nacional DNB @ 1.95, 3/10
Result: 1-0, WON

Sep 25, 2011

Bella Vista - Nacional

Uruguay Primera Division, Apertura

Well, once again I'm going for the over in one of Nacional's matches. They have shown very good attacking skills this season, especially last round, when they trashed Cerro Largo 4-0. Even in the Copa Sudamericana defeat to U de Chile, they managed to get to the opponents are quite often, including missing a couple of clear-cut chances. And since that match was played only for 48 minutes, the players shouldn't be too tired, and that is one of the reasons why Gallardo will most likely repeat the same line-up that played against Cerro Largo and U de Chile, meaning the same formation with 3 attackers: Viudez, Boghossian and Porto, with Recoba also expected to enter in the second half. On the other side, we'll have a Bella Vista team that didn't manage to get a single point so far, losing all of their 6 matches, and having the worst defense in the league. Should be an easy prey for Nacional's best attack of the league. Gallardo's team has to bounce back from their Sudamericana elimination, in order to ease the pressure on the coach, and Bella Vista looks like the right team to do that. This should go as an easy win for Nacional, but since I hate backing the away team with a -1 handicap, I'll choose the over, because Nacional's defense is never to be trusted. GL!

over 2.75 @ 2.04, 4/10
Result: 1-0, LOST

Universitario - Alianza Lima

Peru Primera Division

Another episode of El Superclasico of Peru, as Universitario and Alianza are trying to win the only match that really matters for their fans. The pressure is surely on La 'U', as they need to win this match for several reasons: first of all, simply because it's the biggest derby, but also because they need the points to keep hoping of a Libertadores position at the end of the season (they are currently 4 points behind the 3rd placed Leon). Alianza can take it a bit more relaxed, as they are the leaders, and have a very nice advantage in front of the tables, and for them to miss the league final would be close to impossible. But everyone will put their problems aside, and we'll probably have a very disputed match, as we always have. In the last 10 Superclasicos, only 3 of them had at least 3 goals, showing that both these teams would prefer not to lose this match, rather than win it (4 of the last 10 ended in draws). So I expect another close affair, likely with very few goals, especially since Alianza made 6 unders in their last 10 matches, while Universitario has 8 under in the last 10. Moreover, Universitario is also missing 2 of their forwards, Johan Fano and Pedro Garcia, so I seriously doubt this will be a goal-fest. My call would be on a 0-0. GL!

under 2 goals @ 1.87, 3/10
Result: 2-1, LOST