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Happy Labor Day, everybody! Despite the long weekend, El Bolso is still here to bring you the latest in Uruguayan soccer happenings. This week was not a good one for my boys in red, white and blue, but there’s plenty going on around the world, so let’s get to it!

 

Running on empty

 

“We need a name that screams class and skill… say, what’s that big thing back there?”

 

Nacional got the last of its jailbirds back this week, as Diego “Mama” Arismendi managed to wake up in time to get to the practice field, but the Tricolores lost their perfect record, falling 2-1 against El Tanque, so named because there was a big water tower near the field where the team came to life. I wish I was kidding. Anyway, Nacional was down two goals early thanks to some sloppy defending, and could only manage to get half of that back on a strike by latest young promise Leandro BarciaThere were no scores for Iván Alonso, who is still leading the league in goals, and the team fell three points behind both Peñarol (ay ay ay!) and early season surprise Racing Club, both easy winners on Sunday. Racing is known as either “La Escuelita” (the little school) or “Los Cerveceros” (the beer lovers), and has spent most of El Bolso’s life in the second division, but in the past five years or so they’ve managed to become regulars at the top level and are clearly aiming for more. I’m a little biased here, because my dad took me to many second division Racing games when I was little (we knew someone who could get us in for free), but I still think this is a great story. Here’s hoping the beer keeps flowing at that school… er… or something like that.

 

Comings and Goings

 

Two of Uruguay’s brightest young talents are on the move to Premier League teams; one for each Suárez goal against England.

 

It’s been a busy week for Uruguayan players abroad: Diego Rolán and Felipe Avenatti, whom you may remember from my post two weeks ago, again scored for their respective teams, as did PSG star Edinson Cavani. It was also a busy week for rumors: first there was a story about Bayern Munich’s legal team flying to Barcelona to finalize a deal for All-World defenseman Diego Godín, but nothing seems to have come of that. Then it was Cavani’s turn, as the media reported on a huge offer from Arsenal to PSG; again, all smoke and no fire, at least as of today. However, there were some moves involving UMNT members later on in the week: former Nacional defender and El Bolso favorite Sebastián Coates left Liverpool FC on a one year loan to Sunderland, which is coached by Gus Poyet, my not-so-secret pick for UMNT coach once Tabárez finally hangs them up (speaking of which, federation leadership is still haggling over contract terms with El Maestro… not good). Meanwhile, Abel ” La Joya” Hernández (the jewel) moved from Italy’s Serie A (Palermo) to Hull City. Why is England so interested in UMNT’s players all of a sudden? Trust El Bolso, it’s NEVER good when the English start eyeing your natural resources.

 

Shenanigans

 

I’m not saying Defensor’s jersey is the color of sour grapes, I’m… Ok, I’m saying that.

 

Well, it’s week three of the Uruguayan championship, so it’s about time for ridiculous things to start happening. This morning Defensor Sporting sent a memo to federation headquarters demanding that next week’s games be suspended. Do they have some big international match coming up that they need to be fresh for? Of course not. Defensor is playing league leader Peñarol, and they have to do it without one of their best players, Giorgian De Arrascaeta, who was one of the players called up for this weekend’s UMNT’s friendlies. Another call-up was Peñarol’s Jonathan Rodríguez, so they’re even, right? Well, Jonathan suffered a mild ankle sprain yesterday, so he’s missing the trip; however, he could end up playing against Defensor if the injury responds to treatment. so Defensor thinks the entire slate of games should be postponed so as to not give Peñarol an unfair advantage; as a result, there may or may not be soccer in Uruguay next weekend.

El Bolso hates to side with the Manyas in anything, but come on. Play the games, and if you think Rodríguez being able to play (again, it’s not a sure thing) is unfair, just have someone step on his ankle a minute into the game. A few weeks ago, when it was possible that three Peñarol starters would be summoned by Tabárez, it was suggested that the Manyas would call for postponement as well. Instead, their coach basically said “it’s an honor to have our players called up, we’ll manage without them.” That’s an attitude El Bolso can get behind.

One final trivia note: Boca Juniors hired Rodolfo Arruabarrena as their new coach this week, meaning that both of Argentina’s biggest teams are now led by former Nacional coaches. Arruabarrena had a mostly forgettable stint at Nacional between April and December of last year, while River Plate’s coach, Marcelo Gallardo, finished his playing career by leading Nacional to the 2011-12 season title, then was a surprise hire as team manager and won the 2012-13 championship as a rookie coach.

That’s all for this week, see you next time!

El Bolso

About El Bolso

El Bolso is Uruguay’s foremost soccer-fan-in-exile, a true authority on the Celeste and its favored son, the Club Nacional de Football. He believes in precision passing, tireless marking, and strong finishing, and is not above the occasional slide tackle from behind when the situation calls for it.

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