PREVIEW: VALENCIA - VILLARREAL
Jozy Altidore will hope to cap off his 2010 with some significant action for Villarreal who take on Valencia at Estadio Mestalla in the first leg of their Round of 16 Copa del Rey match-up.
Altidore was a late substitute in Villarreal's home win on Saturday over Mallorca coming on in the 84th minute to replace fellow New Jerseyite Giuseppe Rossi.
It remains to be seen if head coach Juan Carlos Garrido will opt to go with bench players for Tuesday's first leg. Should he elect to do so, fans can expect Altidore to get a start along side Marco Ruben with Jefferson Montero possibly aiding in the attack.
This season Rossi and Brazilian forward Nilmar have received the bulk of the starts so there is also the chance that Garrido stays with his normal starters up front.
Both of Altidore's goals this season have come in cup play with the US international netting in each leg versus Polideportivo Ejido that helped the Yellow Submarine earn a berth in the final 16.
Villarreal are having an excellent season both on the domestic and international fronts. Garrido's club currently sits third in La Liga and is still within shouting distance of Spain's big two, Real Madrid and Barcelona.
On the European front, Villarreal emerged as winners in their Europa League group and will now take on Serie A club Napoli in the first knockout round of that competition.
A victory in the Copa del Rey over Los Che would send Garrido's team to a potential quarterfinal matchup against either Sevilla or Malaga whom are currently coached by former Villarreal boss Manuel Pellegrini.
Valencia are no strangers to winning the Copa del Rey having claimed the title an impressive seven times. Their most recent one was in 2008 when they defeated Getafe in the final.
Tuesday's contest in Valencia will be followed up by the return leg in Villarreal on January 5th at Estadio Madrigal.
Injuries over the weekend to goalkeeper Cesar and David Navarro will keep the Valencian duo out of action while Carlos Marchena and Joan Oriol are set to miss for the visitors.