Wednesday, January 5, 2011
Jozy Altidore should see some significant time off the bench for Villarreal who welcome in Valencia for the return leg of their Round of 16 Copa del Rey match-up.
Altidore played the final 20 minutes in the first leg at Estadio Mestalla two weeks ago and very nearly served up the game-winning assist only to see Brazilian forward Nilmar be denied on a late chance.
Nilmar has since sustained a torn meniscus in his right knee which required surgery. He is expected to miss two months of action thus giving Altidore an opportunity for more playing time among head coach Juan Carlos Garrido's stable of forwards.
The former New York Red Bull also featured in the final seven minutes of Villarreal's league victory over Almeria on Monday.
Thursday's contest at Estadio Madrigal is expected to be a tight affair especially since both squads battled to a scoreless draw in the first leg.
New Jersey-born Giuseppe Rossi will take his usual spot up front for the Yellow Submarine and fans can expect Garrido to peg Marco Ruben to start along side Rossi.
In addition to Altidore, speedy winger Jefferson Montero could be one of the first attacking options off the bench should the visitors manage to net a crucial away goal.
Valencia enter the match with lady luck on their side after a 2-1 win over Espanyol where forward Juan Mata scored the game-winner in second half stoppage time despite an obvious offsides infraction which was missed by the linesman.
The guests are also the only team to have earned a point this season at Estadio Madrigal after playing to a draw earlier this season in league play.
Los Che know very well how to advance far in this competition having reached the final 16 times.
Whichever club emerges victorious will have a date with Sevilla in the quarterfinals.
In addition to Nilmar, Villarreal will also be missing valuable midfielder Marcos Senna and Carlos Marchena whom are both injured.
Valencia's Aritz Aduriz is suspended while David Albelda, Tino Costa, David Navarro and Chori Dominguez plus goalkeepers Cesay and Moya are all sidelined with injuries.