LDU Quito and Universidad de Chile prepare to do battle.
Caught Offside will be broadcasting the Copa Sudamericana final between LDU Quito and Universidad de Chile LIVE via twitter, starting with the first leg this Thursday night at 00:15 GMT (Friday morning).
In anticipation Caught Offside’s live final broadcast we will be previewing the tie to show you why you should join in and enjoy one of the primary events in the South American football calendar. Liga de Quito take on the ‘Barcelona of the Americas’ – Universidad de Chile – in a two legged final with the winner securing a place in next year’s Copa Libertadores. During the game we will be using the hashtag #coscs for you to comment on the game and ask any questions. But for now, let’s talk about the first leg’s hosts – LDU Quito.
Also known simply as Liga, they have risen to become the powerhouse of Ecuadorian football in recent years. They boast an impressive trophy haul including: 2008 Copa Libertadores Champions – the first Ecuadorian side to lift the trophy, 2008 Club World Cup runners-up, 2009 Copa Sudamericana champions, 2009 and 2010 Recopa Sudamericana champions as well as lifting their domestic league title in 2007, 2008 and 2010.
Liga are a side that like to play attractive, attacking football and will look to make the most of their home advantage in the first leg. They move the ball up the field quickly and are always looking to penetrate the defence. Playing at almost 10,000 feet above sea level they may try to exploit the lack of altitude practice in their Chilean opponents by maintaining possession and grinding them down. Universidad de Chile are a team that enjoy keeping the ball and closing down quickly so it will be interesting to see how they cope in Quito.
Expected line-up: Dominguez; Reasco, Ambrosi, Araujo, Guagua; Calderon, Urrutia, Gonzalez, Hidalgo; Barcos, Bieler.
The main man up-top for the Ecuadorians is the Argentine Hernan Barcos. The pony-tailed centre forward has scored 38 goals in 62 league games for his side – that is an average of just over one every other game. He is a towering, powerful striker with great versatility. He can receive the ball in the air or at his feet, and either holds up the play to involve others, or turn and run at goal. He is extremely comfortable on the ball and his seven goals in this year’s Copa Sudamericana show he can hit the net on the continent. If supported by his compatriot Claudio Bieler in attack then it will be difficult for the Chileans to contain them.
In terms of promising youth, Liga possess an interesting attacking midfielder named Miler Bolanos. He has featured regularly since 2010 and is a tricky player who enjoys dribbling with the ball, similar to an unpolished Juan Mata. Now at 21-years-old he needs to work on his goal return and make his mark on the continental stage to have a chance of getting a high profile move. He is part of an side with huge experience and is one of a number of youngsters trying to break into the first team.
These experienced players will provide cool heads on another famous night in the club’s history. Luis Bolanos, Norberto Araujo, Claudio Bieler, Paul Ambrosi, Paul Urrutia, Enrique Vera and William Araujo all played in the 2008 Copa Libertadores triumph over Fluminense. This vast degree of experience flowing through the squad could prove invaluable. They have also added Ulises de la Cruz and Ezequiel Gonzalez to their ranks since, bolstering the squad with continental know-how.
If Liga add a second Copa Sudamericana title to their trophy cabinet they will need an impressive win at home before heading to Santiago for the second leg next week. Do not expect them to sit back, they will attempt to achieve a similar result to their first leg in the 2008 Copa Libertadores – a 4-2 win against Brazilian giants Fluminense.
Read more from Tom at his excellent blog Purple Patch