International Champions Cup Preview: Valencia C.F.
Valencia C.F. are the third most successful club in Spain, rich in history and hungry to match former glory. They will be joining compatriots Real Madrid in United States later this month to compete in the 2013 International Champions Cup.
Here’s a preview:
July 27, 2013: Milan vs Valencia C.F., Valencia (Mestalla Stadium) 2:00pm ET
August 4, 2013: Loser of Milan vs Valencia C.F. will play loser of Chelsea vs Inter or winner of Milan vs Valencia C.F. will play winner of Chelsea vs Inter, New York (MetLife Stadium) 4:00pm ET or 6:30pm ET
August 6, 2013: Opponent to be determined, Miami (Sun Life Stadium), 6:30pm ET or 9pm ET
August 7, 2013: Opponent to be determined, Miami (Sun Life Stadium), 6:30pm ET or 9pm ET
What to Expect
Valencia are coming off the heels of a decent if frustrating season, losing their final match – and a spot in this season’s Champions League qualifiers – after four straight wins put them firmly in control of their destiny. They are an aggressive attacking side, featuring one of Spain’s top strikers in Roberto Soldado who has been chased by Tottenham. While they boast some individual talent in the back line, as a unit their defense has let them down. Look for their match against Milan to be a high scoring affair. Should they advance to the finals, their most likely opponent will be their longtime rivals, Real Madrid.
Who to Watch For
Roberto Soldado. His 24 goals in 35 appearances made him the 5th highest goal scorer in La Liga, a goal shy of recent Manchester City signing Alvaro Negredo. He is a clinical finisher, twice as effective in front of goal as Liverpool’s newest No.9, Iago Aspas. Their attack is designed to feed as many through-balls to Soldado as possible, and they do that via Argentine Ever Banega. Wearing the No.10 shirt and doing a fantastic job of it, the 25 year old play-maker managed 0.5 accurate through-balls a game last season – equal to Real Madrid starter Mesut Ozil, and good enough for 4th overall in La Liga. Fullback Aly Cissokho put in enough quality performances to garner interest from Premier League clubs like Liverpool and Tottenham, but has so far committed to another season at Valencia.
Out: Tino Costa, David Albelda
In: Oriol Romeu (loan), Javi Fuego, Michel
While they have let go of their central midfield pairing in Albelda and Costa, Valencia can consider this window a quiet one, as Soldado and Banega remain at the club despite performances worthy of outside interest. Valencia has plugged the new hole in central midfield (at least temporarily) by loaning 21 year old Spaniard Oriol Romeu from Premier League giants Chelsea. At Valencia he will have every opportunity to showcase his vision and solid defensive presence in a deep lying role.
Be sure to follow Ernesto on Twitter @MalaveFC