Tuesday, November 9, 2010

LDU Quito vs Newell's Old Boys... Who Holds The Advantage?

The question, and it's answer, may seem easy at first glance. After the first leg of the Copa Sudamericana Quarter final between Newell's Old Boys and LDU Quito ended in a 0-0 draw in Rosario the advantage would seem to go to the Quito as they will be playing at home, and at altitude. But is it really that easy?

Let's consider, with the score going into the second leg a scoreless draw Quito has no away goals to rely on. Because of this, if there are goals scored in the second leg, all Newell's would need to get through to the Semifinals is keep the score level. And while the altitude, some 2,850 meters (9,350 feet,) may present a problem for the team from Rosario (which is 31 meters above sea level, that's 102 feet,) it is not as bad as what the players had to deal with when facing San Jose in Bolivia (3,706 meters - 12,159 feet.)

Yes, yes, I know that Newell's lost to San Jose 2-0 at altitude, but they went into the match with a 6-0 lead from the home leg. They knew they could coast a bit and still make it through. There was no reason not to. Against Quito Newell's will be looking for a result.

Going into this match they then have had the recent experience of playing closer to the sky than the sea. There is also the matter of the way Quito played that first leg, putting defense above anything else. Putting eight men behind the ball at home is unlikely, and will give Newell's offense more room to operate, so I have to think that there is a chance for victory... or at least a draw that will see them through.

But to answer the question of who holds the advantange? My head still says it is Quito, but not by as much as they should like. My heart, however, says Fórmica, Sperdutti, Schiavi, Peratta, and the rest of the boys may prove that when you play with passion any disadvantage can be turned around and taken advantage of.

So let us reach for the sky, and see who's stars shine. Some one will have to step forward and say "this day is mine."

May that man, or men, be wearing red and black!

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