No La Liga games this weekend (due to the World Cup qualifiers), so the B team's trip to Cordoba on Saturday afternoon is the only match in town. The European U-21 World Cup qualifiers are taking place simultaneously, so the B team will miss the services of Spanish team members Kiko (he's everywhere these days), Marcos Gullon, and Matilla. In fact, all three players featured in Spain's 2-0 win over Poland on Friday night in Oviedo. Kiko and Marcos Gullon were starters, while Matilla replaced Getafe and former Real Madrid (almost redundant) prospect Dani Parejo in the 75th minute. They will play again on Wednesday against Liechtenstein in Vaduz, with qualification all but certain.
Jefferson Montero also is not in the squad, as he prepares with the Ecuadorean national team for a crucial game against Colombia on Saturday. Ecuador currently holds 5th place in South American qualifying, but Uruguay, Colombia, and Venezuela are in hot pursuit; 5th place in S.A. earns a playoff with the 4th-placed team in CONCACAF (currently Mexico, but I'd bet on it being Honduras). Per Nick's post, I doubt that Montero is the only player in Segunda A on a national team this weekend, but I couldn't come up with anyone else off the top of my head. Any thoughts?
Certainly squad depth will be an issue this week, as will the heat in Cordoba (temperatures around 40 degrees Celsius at kickoff). With only 18 players available for selection, which includes 3 goalies, B team manager Garrido has called up midfielder Llorente from Villarreal C (let's hope the name wears off on him!). This list includes Musacchio, who likely will not see action in his first full week with the club.
Here's the squad for today's game. My predicted starters in red:
Goalkeepers: Juan Carlos & Vicente Flor.
Defenders: Costa, Mario, Carlos Tomás, Català, Edu, Mateo Musacchio & Joan Oriol.
Midfielders: Cristóbal, David Lázaro, Llorente, Hernán Pérez, Natxo Insa & Gerard Bordas.
Forwards: Joan Tomás, Robert Flores & Marco Ruben.
As compared with last week's lineup, there will be at least 3 changes. Expect Hernán Pérez and Gerard Bordas to be in the starting XI for sure. I'm not as sure about Natxo Insa; I could see Robert Flores getting the start in an attacking midfield position.
Think we can pick up all 3 points without 4 key players? See you at around 12 noon New York time for the answer.
You can find the radio feed here. Match is underway!
5', 1-0 Cordoba. Pepe Diaz scores.
13', 2-0 Cordoba. David Lopes scores. Doesn't sound like this is going to end well. Radio commentators noting that the team looks outmatched. Figures that would happen with so many absences, but I still have faith based on last week. Let's see what the boys can come up with.
26', 3-0 Cordoba. Pepe Diaz bags his brace. Let's get some rest and come back next weekend at home against Hercules. What say you? I'll be back for the aftermath.
47', 3-1 Cordoba. Marco Ruben gets on the scoresheet and continues his goalscoring run. But it's too little, too late.
Fulltime, 3-1 Cordoba. Can't say this result is too surprising. Here's the game story from the team's official site. Good to see that the team played better in the second half and that Musacchio made his debut, coming on in place of Carlos Tomas. See you next Saturday, and let's hope for a better result.