PREVIEW: CD SANTA CLARA – GD ESTORIL PRAIA
Tony Taylor will hope to regain some playing time when Estoril visits Santa Clara on Sunday while Greg Garza and Bryan Arguez will likely not feature for Os Canarinhos.
In what will be their longest road trip of the season by several hundred miles, Taylor and Co. will fly roughly a quarter of the way across the Atlantic Ocean to the volcanic Azores Islands to take on Santa Clara in the Estádio de São Miguel.
After suffering their first home defeat of the campaign last week, and slumping to a disappointing ninth place in the Liga Orangina standings, Estoril need a victory to vault back into the promotion picture.
Following last week's poor performance against Leixões, Coach Vinícius Eutrópio will be relieved to insert central defender Lameirão back into the starting lineup, as well as midfield engine Luciano Bebé, who missed the loss through injury and suspension respectively.
Even with the welcome additions, Eutrópio will not have his entire first choice lineup, as Tiago Costa will be forced to miss out due to the red card he picked up against Leixões . As a result, after filling in for Bebé last week, Nelsinho is likely to keep the fourth midfield spot for a second game in a row.
Santa Clara, who currently sit a single point behind Estoril in the standings, will look to continue their impressive home play.
Management has already gone public with their desire to bolster the attack in the January transfer window after scoring only nine goals in nine league games, but the Azoreans have scored eight of those goals in their past three home games, all of which were victories.
The Estoril attack will likely be spearheaded by the customary Brazilian duo of Paulo Sergio and Alex Afonso.
Taylor will hope to assume the super-sub role he developed early in the season, though in recent games both Luis Leal and Clodoaldo have been preferred to the Florida native as attacking options off the bench.