An almost empty first international friendly took place this Thursday. Only 10,000 tickets were sold out of the 77,500 capacity now at the renovated coliseum that underwent a multi million dollar makeover. It marked the first time both teams played each other in US home soil. The game supported two non profit organizations Homeboy Industries, and Operation Smile. Both were provided an opportunity to feature their work via a video presentation during halftime, and pre game. Proceeds from the game benefitted both of them.
Argentina played without “La Pulga” Lionel Messi who’s suspended with a three-month ban from international football and a $50,000 fine for alleging that the competition was corrupt and fixed by the governing body of the CONMEBOL. Both teams missed key players like Kun Aguero, Arturo Vidal and others. As of Chile it was announced on the 30th of August that Alexis Sanchez would join the Chileans. Chile also gave the opportunity for their star goalkeeper Claudio Bravo to play again after 2 years of absence.
Photo Credit: Jen Flores/Fantasy Sports Cave
But this clash gave opportunities for the youngsters. Three young players made their senior debut, the 23 year old defender who plays for the Argentinian club River Plate Lucas Martinez Quarta was on the starting team, 21 year old central midfielder Nicolás Domínguez, and 20 year old attacking midfielder Alexis Mac Allister who plays for Boca Juniors made their appearance later in the game. During the 1st half the team that dominated the most was in fact Argentina. Lo Celso almost had the opening goal in the 44th minute, but his shot hit the left side of the post. Charles Aranguiz took advantage of a great opportunity for the Chileans before the first half ended as well, but Agustin Marchesin saved his shot.
Photo Credit: Jen Flores- Fantasy Sports Cave
During the second half Lo Celso who almost scored had to leave the field, he picked up a groin injury in the 53rd minute of play after a nasty stamp by Aranguiz. The Argentinians took advantage of another opportunity and nearly scored with five minutes remaining in the game. Quarta who played during the whole game and debuted almost put the team up with a header off the bar. But the game was over, it had ended in a scoreless tie for both South American teams, and with a total of 10 yellow cards given by Jair Marrufo. Argentina was in fact the more threatening team for most of the match, down the tight flank. They will now face Tata Martino’s men at the Aladome in Texas next Tuesday.
Chile will head to Honduras where they will face the central Americans to conclude the tour in San Pedro Sula on Tuesday as well.
Photo Credit: Angel Almada-Contragolpe
Los Angeles, CA | September 05 | Kelly Landaverde – @Kel_landaverde