by Cody Masters
How We Got Here
We are now 7 matches into the Argentine season and a few interesting things have begun to take shape when looking at the table. Looking at Group A, a few teams have really surprised me. Racing might be the most surprising team so far as they have yet to lose a game after finishing 15th in the table in 2021, and losing more games than they won. Group A also holds River Plate. This is a team that finished top of the table last season and currently has only 1 less loss than they had all season. That makes it sound so dire like River have been disappointing, they’ve lost two games. One was a 1-0 loss to Boca and the other was a loss to third place Union who, like Racing, have had a vast improvement over their performance last season. The top 4 in Group A are only separated by 2 points, so lets not go crowning or drowning anyone just yet. Still a long way to go in this knife-fight of a group.
In Group B, Estudiantes currently sit atop the table and are tied at 14 points with Boca Jrs. Newly promoted Club Atletico Tigre currently sit at third and are, in my opinion, the surprise of the group so far. Tigre will be the team to watch to see if they can maintain this hot start with three wins, three draws and only one loss. This group does hold a couple big disappointments, or at least teams that have underperformed compared to last year, are Lanus and Velez Sarsfield. One reason for these two teams underperforming from the previous is the injury to Pedro De La Vega for Lanus and the departure of Thiago Almada from Velez. So while it should not be surprising that these two teams, given the state of their teams, are down at the bottom of the table, it still hurts my heart to see Lanus sputtering.
One of the key matches, coming up on April 3, is from Group A. Defensa y Justicia is taking on River in a fight for second. DyJ currently holds a one point lead over River in the table and are only one point behind group leader Racing. DyJ has been a little leaky on defense thus far. They’ve given up eleven goals in seven games, the most by any team in the top eight of Group A. River has been much tighter defensively, only giving up five goals across their seven games. River had been on a tear offensively, before the Boca game, scoring 9 goals in their last two games in all competitions, winning those games by a combined 9-0. Then they ran into Boca and lost 1-0. With the combination of River’s terrifying attack, led by Julian Alvarez and, friend to all Atlanta soccer fans, Ezequiel Barco, combined with Defensa’s less than stellar defense, I think River gets a big win out of this one. I’ll even be silly enough to predict a 3-1 win for River.
Another key match on the opposite end of the table is Lanus going to Buenos Aires to play Velez in a wooden spoon fight. This will be a game for the true degenerates, and the SDH Watchalong discord channel. I have a feeling this game will be fun and crazy to watch, and will most likely break the tendencies that both of these teams are not great offensively. I’d predict a wild mess of a game, ending 2-2 with a red card and a pile of yellows just for fun. Share your Copa de la Liga thoughts with Cody on Twitter at @codymasters_ Photo from @LigaAFA