FMF State of Mind's Nayib Moran reports from Sevilla, Spain, with an update on Carlos Vela, a look at the Sevilla-Betis derby match, and what could have been with Giovani Dos Santos.
As the late hours approach, sevillanos walk out to the streets to enjoy a Saturday evening, free of rain and snow, but with a cool breeze that reminds that it is January and not April. La Plaza Alfalfa sees Spain’s future, the little youngsters, kicking small, medium, red, white, and brown soccer balls from every direction of La Plaza (every now and then a bystander receives a cordial welcome as a ball accidently smashes on his head).
Sevilla and Spain live soccer with a unique passion, and this passion from its people make you understand the importance of the 2010 World Cup. Remnants of those summer nights and stories of Iniesta de mi vida’s goal are engrained in the country.
Before the Sevilla Derby between Sevilla FC and Betis, Carlos Vela’s Real Sociedad received in Anoeta, Diego Simeone’s rejuvenated Atletico de Madrid. Arda Turan, Adrian, Diego, and Radamel Falcao’s hunger to score overwhelmed Real Sociedad’s defense. With a superb 4-0, Simeone picked up his second straight win.
Carlos Vela’s performance lacked determination. His positioning on the field had him stagnated on the right flank, and only on the rare occasion did he manage to cut in with his left foot and attempt a shot on goal. In the second half he received a tackle right outside the box, creating a scoring opportunity for his team.
At 22, Carlos Vela needs to strengthen his true role on the pitch – will he always be a player on the flanks or will he be the striker that impressed in Peru? One thing is for sure, it is important for him to have playing time, but it is also important for him to showcase more sparks of becoming a "different" player, and not remain as a "promise."
The Benito Villamarín stadium hosted a flaming derby – Sevilla FC came to the game after tying to Hector Moreno’s Espanyol 0-0, while Betis came to the clásico after losing 2-4 to FC Barcelona, but displaying a lot of character in Camp Nou (Spanish aficionados ask why Betis can give Barcelona more of a worry than Mourinho’s Real Madrid).
The derby finished with a 1-1 tie, an excellent first half with great plays from both sides, but a lagging second half which saw Sevilla FC play the last 20 minutes with one man down, after Fazio’s second yellow card. Also Sevilla FC debuted youth squad player, Hiroshi, the first Japanese player in Sevilla FCs history.
On the attacking end, Sevilla FC started Antonio Luna on the left flank, Jesús Navas on the right flank, and José Antonio Reyes played right behind Álvaro Negredo. In the past month, or months, the name of Giovani dos Santos sounded as a legitimate option for Marcelino García Toral’s Sevilla. Without a doubt, a hypothetical inclusion of Mexico’s number 10 into last night’s Sevilla FC line-up would have increased the team’s options of a victory. Giovani and Navas’ explosion on the flanks would have proven to been catastrophic for Betis’ defense. Giovani’s arrival to this beautiful andulisian city would have proven how much Gio needed of a team like Sevilla FC, and how much a team like Sevilla FC needed of a player like Gio.
Imagination became a tool, and yesterday the derby turned into a massive visualization, and in it a lot of bright "would haves" came about. Chepo de La Torre needs these two players to be in top form as the World Cup qualifiers quickly approach.