I'll keep this one short and sweet. 1 point out of 2 games puts you in the drop zone. Relegation is the only thing we don't want out of this season in Segunda A.
Full squad available except for Jefferson Montero, who was late in getting back from Ecuador after national team duty. Kiko is back on the B team thanks to the availability of Godin and perhaps even Gonzalo for the A team's clash on Sunday with Mallorca.
Game will be played in the Mini Estadi in the Ciudad Deportiva. Let's see how noisy and crowded it will be, with seating for only 5,000 people. First time Vila-real will be host to a Primera and Segunda A game in the same weekend, so I'm hoping for good crowds.
Here’s the 18-man squad for today’s game. My predicted starters in red:
Goalkeepers: Juan Carlos & Vicente Flor.
Defenders: Kiko, Mario, Carlos Tomás, Català, Edu, Mateo Musacchio & Joan Oriol.
Midfielders: Cristóbal, Matilla, Marcos Gullon, Hernán Pérez, Natxo Insa & Gerard Bordas.
Forwards: Joan Tomás, Robert Flores & Marco Ruben.
Paraguayan Hernan Perez should start, as he leaves for the U-20 World Cup in Egypt after this match. Game will be on Punt Dos in the Valencia Community, so a link is possible. Keep an eye out around 12 noon ET. Endavant!
0': Game underway. Only change from my predicted lineup is Natxo Insa for Hernan Perez. You can find the video link in the comments.
20', 0-0: Great start for our team. Matilla and Mateo are very noticeable, and we've nearly scored a couple of times. Natxo Insa also looking good. Not a full house, but good support. The goal is a matter of time, assuming Hercules don't hit us on the counter.
44', 0-0: Second yellow card for Hercules right fullback S. Rodriguez, so Hercules now are down to 10 men. 4 yellows for Hercules in the first half and just 1 for Villarreal B (Musacchio).
Halftime, 0-0: Great half against a promotion-chasing team. Hopefully we can make the man up count in the second half. Maybe we will see Robert Flores and Hernan Perez? Catch you in a bit.
49', 0-0: How do you create a scoring chance down a man? Earn a cheap free kick (given up by Kiko) and win a header. Luckily, the shot beat Juan Carlos (he may have gotten a hand on it) but hit the post and out. No subs yet, but we need to sharpen up.
63', 0-0: Hercules put another great chance over the bar. Finally a good chance for us; it had been 30 minutes plus. Good save by Hercules goalkeeper on Gerard Bordas.
65', 0-0: Natxo Insa and Joan Tomas (today's captain) off, Robert Flores and Cristobal on.
81', 0-0: Final roll of the dice. Hernan Perez on for Gerard Bordas. We haven't played as well up a man as we did early in the match. Can we still get 3 points?
86', 1-0 Villarreal B: GOOOOOOOOOOL! Marco Ruben bags his 3rd goal of the season (1 in each match), and we are minutes away from the B team's first win in Segunda A. Deflected shot from outside the box that left the keeper with no chance. Time to defend.
Fulltime, 1-0: The B team's first-ever win in Segunda A. Good to see Marco Ruben taking advantage of his opportunities, and I was impressed by Mateo Musacchio. Not the prettiest win by any stretch of the imagination, but we'll take the 3 points.
On to Huelva and a date with another promotion-seeking team in Recreativo. They also happen to be Marco Ruben's former employer and our farm team of sorts, so let's see if he can extend his goalscoring run to 4 games. The A and B teams play at the same time next week, so see you on Sunday.