First, all-around hero Robbie Pires could be on his way to a stadium near you in the very near future. He has been in talks with the Philadelphia Union of the MLS to join them this summer. This has been confirmed both with Peter Nowak, and apparently with either Pires or his people. I have to admit, I will be very sad to see him go, but it would be awesome to see him traveling around the US. He clearly has the personality and skill to endear himself to the people of Philadelphia, and I would love to go catch a few matches up there. Who knows, if this works out, perhaps we could have either a VillarrealUSA trip to Philly, or have Pires come meet up with us to watch Villarreal?
It has been confirmed that unless something drastic happens over the last few matches of the season (can you believe the season is already almost over?), Juan Carlos Garrido will be sticking around for the 2010/2011 season. I think he has earned it, and I look forward to seeing what he can do with the club when he can mix in a few more of his B-teamers alongside A-teamers who he has finally gotten comfortable with. Of all the options Villarreal could have, knowing that next year will be a bit of a down year in terms of big names, Garrido has to be considered the best choice.
Villarreal could be close to signing Gimnasia la Plata's Columbian striker Marco Perez for next term. Apparently there are issues with his ownership, similar to the Carlos Tevez saga, where multiple owners are hanging on to shares of his rights, so it could be a tricky move. I would think that if we signed him, it would suggest that Nilmar might be on his way to a "bigger" club.
You may have noticed today, but Villarreal B picked up a victory over Celta Vigo, despite being down to ten men from five minutes into the match. It was Montero's goal that pushed them through (how awesome will he be next year?) with a goal in the 86th. They are an amazing one point out of a promotion spot, and within six of the league leaders.
So, before getting to Villarreal's match, we have a couple of other matches to watch closely this weekend. Sevilla must travel to the Coliseum Alfonso Perez to take on Getafe (who just embarassed us 3-0 there), Mallorca is home to Malaga, and Bilbao must travel to Osasuna. We have to expect Mallorca to have an easy time with Malaga. Bilbao and Osasuna could have a pretty tight match. I really do not know what I want out of the Getafe-Sevilla match. Obviously, we need Sevilla to drop points. At the same time, we have to be pretty happy about being in the Europa spots, and the last thing I want to do is lose that to a resurgent Getafe. Tough call.
Villarreal will be in Santander tomorrow at 11am eastern time, for what should be a winnable match. Villarreal won 2-0 at El Madrigal earlier in the year, and Racing is simply miserable at home - they have gone 3 wins, 5 draws, and 8 losses at El Sardinero. They have not been playing too poorly as of late, though, picking up 5 of a possible 9 points over their last three, including a 3-1 win over Espanyol in their last home match.
Villarreal have won four out of five, and if you forget the Getafe match, have to feel like they have put in quality work into the last quarter of the season so far. Three points tomorrow would go a long way towards their tenuous bid at maintaining a European position through the end of the season.
They have made the following call for the match:
Keepers: Diego López and Xavi Oliva.
Defenders: Ángel, Javi Venta, Gonzalo, Mateo Musacchio, Godin, Capdevila and Marcano.
Midfielders: Bruno, Ibagaza, Cani, Cazorla, Fuster and Escudero.
Forwards: Rossi, Nilmar and Llorente.
Pires and Senna missed out due to injury. Senna is still hurting from his hamstring injury, and Pires has strained his right adductor. The team has recovered Gonzalo, but it isn't known whether he will take the pitch alongside Godin, or whether Garrido will play his hamstring safe and keep Musacchio in there.
We need these three points. They should be available. We just have to go and get them. ENDAVANT!