Hello again! It’s time once again for the Charrúa Report: this week we look at some changes in the Uruguayan Tournament table, some European league action, and a heartwarming story with a distant connection to El Bolso himself. Let’s get to it!
As you no doubt remember, there was a three-way tie at the top of the table after last week’s games: Peñarol, Racing, and El Tanque, with Nacional just a point behind. Not everyone was able to keep up the pace this weekend, however. On Saturday, Peñarol gave up their first goal of the season and had to settle for their second tie in a row, 1-1 against Sud América. Racing, El Bolso’s second favorite team, overcame last year’s runner up Wanderers 3-2 with a last minute goal. On Sunday, El Tanque lost 1-0 against Fénix, leaving the Cerveceros all alone on top of the table. In the last game of the weekend, Nacional got one goal on an Iván Alonso header (number 7 this season), another on an Alonso kick that was deflected in by a defender, and a third on another Diego Arismendi long shot, and beat defending champs Danubio 3-0. The Tricolores have the second most prolific offense in the league (13 goals in 5 games, 2 behind Racing) and are all alone in second place, one point behind the surprising Cerveceros. Peñarol fell to third place, two point behind the leaders and one point in front of several other teams.
This Nacional win stood out for several reasons: first, it stopped a 2 game win streak for Danubio in the series and was the third win of the season against traditionally strong teams, (the previously beat River Plate 3-1 and humiliated Defensor 5-2). Second, it’s September, which means Nacional wears their sky blue alternative jersey (see above). They have been doing this since 2011 for all home games in September, paying homage to the first ever international win for Uruguay, a 3-2 win at Argentina in 1903. As El Bolso recounted in one of his early columns, Uruguay took only Nacional players to Buenos Aires for this game, because every other team in the main league (including you know who) were being run by 6-year-olds. And third, we got to see precious little of those gorgeous jerseys, because a dense fog fell over the Parque Central throughout the game, making the far half of the field all but invisible. In fact, scroll down to the bottom for the video highlights of that game and see if you can see anything of Arismendi’s shot at all.
Has the Madrid power structure shifted?
Boy, I wouldn’t want to be in Carlo Ancelotti’s shoes. Real Madrid lost their second straight game, 2-1 to crosstown rival Atlético, falling 6 points behind leader Barcelona (and 4 behind the Colchoneros) after just three La Liga rounds. Of course, the only reason you’re reading about it here is because Diego Godín was once again a monster on defense. Godín’s team has now beaten Real twice in a row at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium and are looking like the best side in the Spanish capital right now. In other Celeste news, Felipe Avenatti didn’t make the final cut for the Japan and South Korea friendlies, but he’s intent on forcing his way onto the team, scoring again this weekend for Ternana. Abel Hernández, meanwhile, opened the scoring for Hull City in a 2-2 tie against West Ham on Monday afternoon. It looks like the next generation of Uruguayan attackers is maturing at the right time.
Small Town Boy Makes Good
I’ll end this week on a positive note: the heartwarming story of El Tanque midfielder Felipe Rodríguez. Felipe grew up in Juanicó, a town a few miles outside of the capital, smack in the middle of Uruguay’s main wine-producing region. He was raised by his uncles and grandmother because his parents had emigrated to the US. He played in the local soccer leagues until the age of 12, when he finally moved stateside with his mother and father (El Bolso made that same trip when he was one year older than Felipe). Once in the United States, he discovered a talent for the beautiful game, first at Westhill High in Stamford (once the home of El Bolso himself), and then in various USMNT regional camps. He was called up for various youth national teams, but lacked US citizenship, and so was not able to participate in the program. Then, some childhood friends convinced him to move back to Uruguay and pursue his dream there. He played for his hometown team in a regional league for two years, then spent a few seasons in the youth divisions of humble second division Boston River and perennial first division stalwart Cerro, and eventually landed at El Tanque. Promoted to the main squad by Uruguayan coaching legend Raúl Möller, he has responded with quality midfield play, and two weekends ago he was named the player of the week as El Tanque beat Nacional. At 24 years of age, Felipe is enjoying his hard-earned success and looking forward to a long career and an opportunity to play in the big time: Europe. From one former Viking to another, congratulations and good luck, Felipe!
“La yapa” is a Uruguayan phrase that means that extra little something you get on top of a regular portion: the encore at a concert, a free dessert at dinnertime, etc. This week, I’m going to share one of the little joys of being a Uruguayan soccer fan. Below you will find a video of the highlights from Nacional’s game, put together by “Pasión Tricolor,” the people behind Nacional’s exclusive radio network. Every week they broadcast the games on radio in a, shall we say, partisan manner, and then they post a video of the goals to YouTube (Nacional goals only, of course), with the audio from the radio broadcast mixed in. Whenever there’s a goal, in between the broadcast team’s shameless celebration, they play the official Pasión Tricolor goal song, which is what I wanted to share. Take a listen and experience for yourselves the awe-inspiring vocal prowess of this unknown band of prodigies. You won’t regret it:
Ok, that’s it for this week. see you next time!
- The Charrúa Report: On the Right Foot - March 14, 2017
- The Charrúa Report: Campeones! - February 14, 2017
- The Charrúa Report: 48 Is Enough - January 11, 2017
- The Charrúa Report: Nico and the Sounders - December 14, 2016
- The Charrúa Report: King of the Single Rounders - December 12, 2016
- The Charrúa Report: Senseless - December 6, 2016
- The Charrúa Report: The Bum’s Rush - November 28, 2016
- The Charrúa Report: A Bump in the Road - November 16, 2016
- The Charrúa Report: Is It Priceline Time? - November 12, 2016
- The Charrúa Report: Closer to Fine - October 13, 2016