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He is the Spicy One - An attempt to conquer Chile


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Meet Sanchez, a man born at the Southern end of Chile, who has decided he can become the Chilean version of Jose Mourinho, and so is setting of to conquer the footballing landscape of South America

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And he is starting at the opposite end of the country to his birthplace, closer to the Bolivian capital than Santiago.

Taking over a team predicted to finish bottom of a 15 team league, are financially insecure, and playing in generally poor facilities

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Having spent some time in the top division, they have dropped away during recent seasons, spending the 2019-2020 season in the third tier, claiming the title and setting the stage for Sanchez Asambani to appear.

 

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All of the out of the box South American leagues are playable, with six European countries available too, so hopefully there will be the movement of players towards the big money of Europe.

The plan is simple.  Take San Marcos as far as they can go, hopefully to Copa Libertadores glory, aided by some home grown players.  But this won't be youth only, as that won't keep them in the division.

Edited by scousevasey
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The arrival

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The medial are questioning the board decision to appoint the random southerner.  But the team were expected to be fighting the drop before his arrival, so nothing much has changed

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The club have topped out at the 2nd division title, with midtable in the highest tier being their ceiling as a club.  So there is room to make history at this club, but it will take time to arrange.

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The board are focused on the financial issues facing the club, starting off December 2020 £880k in the red.  So the battle is not just on the pitch, but to do it cheaply.

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The Director of Football reckons a defensive 4-3-3 formation is the strongest, with the squad being described as Fairly Professional, so there is hope for a positive attitude to the challenges ahead

 

The staff

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The staff at the club don't look good, but with the finances as they are, it is going to be difficult to move some on before their contracts expire

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No general coaches, as the Assistant Manager takes on one of the three coaching slots.  Hopefully the fitness coach can help the team keep running until the end of games, but as the fitness coaching is seen as the worst in the league it is unlikely.  There is space for a Head Performance Analyst, but as money is tight, Asambani is going to roll with the skills of Brian Gonzalez to begin with.

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There is a Technical Director and a Loan Manager despite the board not wanting one, so they will be shown the door when the season ends as terminating them will deplete any meagre transfer budget.  The scout has a 50-50 chance of recognising some potential in a player which is not great.  With space for a Chief Scout and a Scout, adverts have been placed as good quality recruitment is going to be key to survival.

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An advert has been placed for a Physio to support Escauriaza and help get players back to full fitness as soon as possible.

 

Not the greatest collection of people, but it is the group that will be starting the season together

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The Squad

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Before looking at the players, there is a focus on youth in Chile with two U21s needing to be in the match squad, and a limit on foreign players, meaning any foreign additions need to bring quality to the squad to ensure the opportunity cost of the limited spaces isn't wasted

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These seven players are currently on loan, but will be returning to their parent clubs once the calendar turns.  On arrival, only Navarro is in the main squad, and while all of them are being paid partial wages, it is a good way to clear money from the budget  and assess the squad before delving into the transfer market.

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This is the main squad (minus loanee Navarro), and it is relatively young, with only two players 30 or older, but it is lacking in depth across certain positions.

There are three Uruguayans in the squad, along with two Argentines, which doesn't match with the numbers shown in terms of registration, so that will be something to watch when it comes to the start of the season.  Whether some have gained HomeGrown status, or whether Argentina is classed as non-foreign is not clear right now.

What does stand out is that only Jorge Faundez is signed beyond the next season, so a lot of these players are playing for their future at the club.  And as they were promoted, lots of them will probably want an increase on their wages if they are signed during the season, so there will be a careful game to play.

Currently there are only 3 U21 players in the squad, and two need to be in the matchday squad, so there will have to be at least one addition to cover the chance of injuries.

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As this is the whole U19 team, the only other squad at the club, that addition will probably have to come from a new signing, as there is not a lot in the pipeline.

Those seen as having more than 1.5* PPA will probably get moved to the main squad for training purposes, but made available for the U19s for games, to ensure that mentoring is able to be conducted, and to hopefully help some development to take place.

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The backroom team see Monroy as a key player for the future, and Matias Gonzalez as important now.  Renato Gonzalez is the highest earner and 2nd oldest player at 30, so depending on how well he performs determines whether he is forced out and the wage savings reinvested or not

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The poor judgement of the staff needs to be a caveat for the following statements, but going by position

GK - needs work, but Veloso will do a job

Defence - Strong on the right and in the centre, with little ability to play WBs, so a flat backline will be important.

DM - The top two are also top two-three at other positions, so it is likely that a DM will be overlooked despite the desire of the staff team.

Midfield - Again stronger on the right and in the centre than the left, although the top MR is also the top DR, so a review of his ability is going to shape where he plays

AM - Renato Gonzalez is the best across the pitch at this point, with the depth behind him being equally comfortable on both sides.  This might have benefits in a AMR-AML pairing to allow swapping during a game to break being man marked.

ST - there are numbers here but all very similar behind the soon to depart Navarro.

 

Based on this the current, and immediate tactical thoughts are;

- 4-4-2 (AMR-AML) - this takes advantage of the quality wide players, and ensures the strikers are not left alone up front.

- 4-3-3 with a flat MC trio

- 4-2-3-1 as it will get more of the AM players on the pitch at once which seems to be where the quality lies in the squad

 

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  • scousevasey changed the title to He is the Spicy One - An attempt to conquer Chile
5 hours ago, kingjericho said:

Good luck :thup:

Cheers

Planning to go a bit slower, and actually take control of training to see if I can make a difference, as usually I just leave that to the Assistant

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11 hours ago, Jimbokav1971 said:

An unusual location. Good luck. :thup:

That's an awful jacket though. Goes well with the hair. :lol:

The outfit looks marginally better now the club has been joined, as the tie is club coloured.

Fashion was never my strong point. And from recent saves, neither was FM.

 

Wanted to get further afield, so South America was calling, and the original plan was to try and invert the continent, making the most southerly team the best,  but it turns out most of Chilean football is centred around Santiago, and the lowest team geographically was only two thirds of the way down the country.

Having created a save to play around with what clubs were available, I discovered Arica is pretty much a border town, and are due to be awful, so it seems like a good place to start 

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Building understand

My usual route with a new save, is to pick a tactic or two, delegate things, and move on.  The aim here is to move more slowly, and make sure that things are thought though.

With that aim, the squad vs squad game was set up, with a roughly even split between the two sides to try and see where the quality is.

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A reasonable start.  The first formation available is the 4-3-3, which the second team used, and the first team went with the 4-2-4 (4-4-2 with AMR/AML) which will be the starting one for the season.  As this was tweaked when setting up, it actually appears as the third option, hence why the second team didn't use it.  And the first team clearly dominated the game with them being much higher up the pitch, and controlling most of the stats.

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After the game there was a chance to check in with the analyst, and they have noted two useful things.  Firstly the team are fairly quick off the mark, so a counter attacking formation may play well, especially as the team are expected to be on the defensive in most games.  Secondly there is the opportunity to take advantage of any free kicks, and spending time in routines, and on the training pitch could pay dividends.

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The analyst provided more of an overview about the squad, some that is useful, and some less so.

They are relatively young, but also short, so the free kicks will have to target certain players.  On the positive side the average wage is the lowest in the league, but as that can be seen as an indicator of success, that is likely to be thin on the ground.  Player values are not as bad, which shows that the team are getting decent value on wages with at least some players.

 

There are then four screens by attributes (images in spoilers to save space).  The obvious caveat is that these rankings are all in comparison to the level the team are at, so a 'good' attribute is going to still be quite poor in reality.

Spoiler

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The team are aggressive, relatively decent on the ball (first touch and passing), but are not much of a team with poor work rate and teamwork.

A lot of pace, and agility, which could help the counter attacking intentions.  Play the ball to speedy wingers, put a target man around to focus on, and sweep up on the 2nd ball.  Charles Reep would be proud.  But there is a need to have some replacement pace on the bench as the fitness and stamina levels are poor.

Good vision, and reasonable composure will help get the ball to decent positions.  But otherwise there are some poor mental attributes, so if the team concede, it is likely heads will drop, and the game will be lost.

The best Free Kick attributes in the league, and a decent technical side.  If the mental side of the came could improve a bit then there is some potential at the club.

 

There is also the positional focused stats, which have been filtered by positional players, so instead of a whole squad view it pays attention to those most likely to play in those positions.  Again in spoilers to save space

Spoiler

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Some reasonable skills in goal, and they will be needed for a relegation candidate.  Not great in the air, but hopefully that can be covered for elsewhere, although that will need to be via positioning as opposed to height elsewhere due the the low average height of the team.

Defensively the squad are rapid, which could allow a slightly higher line, but as the positioning and tackling skills are poor, that would risk some dodgy fouls and red cards.  A bit of digging is needed to see if this is more to do with the central or wider defenders, and how best to utilise it.

In midfield the team can see the perfect ball, but don't have the skills to carry it out.  So that sounds like a recipe for lots of long incisive passes that are wayward and get cut out, or drift out for a throw in.

Up front there is some reasonable pace, and decent skills in the air, but they will struggle to slot the ball away.  Hopefully the pace can be utilised and result in lots of breaking in on the opposition goal, and either taking the chances that appear, or being scythed down, earning a free kick in a decent area

 

All told, there are the bones of a decent team present.  But there is work to be done.  With the current scouting team being a one man band, there is not a lot in terms of reports to sift through, but one player send a cheeky CV to the new manager and was invited to join the club on trial for a few weeks

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31 is a bit old, but then the oldest player in the league is 43, and the average age of the squad is relatively low.  On arrival, the view of the coaching team is that he will make the team better.  But the poor Teamwork and Determination attributes are a slight worry, knowing the rest of the team struggle with those, so signing him wouldn't necessarily fix a problem.

So it is likely a few more players will be invited in to show their skills on a trial contract, with the aim of getting some experience, as well as boosting the mental attributes of the squad.

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The Director of Football decided to share his thoughts, and he reckons some players aren't pulling their weight

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That includes Veloso, Captain, Fairly Ambitious (so key for some mentoring), who if fairly likely to get upset if he is pulled up for his wage versus performance.  Although at 33 he might not have long left, it is better to keep him happy, and the club dynamics stable, but lose some money in the short term than get a mutiny and lose the job within weeks.

 

The next job is to look at the players in a bit more detail, work out if any can be sold on, and look at what players are available who are interested in joining.  The DoF has been tasked with finding some suitable targets, although he is not yet trusted with any contracts.

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Player review

This won't cover every player at the squad, but will look at a couple of key positional battles, and players who look to be the stand out performers at this early stage.

First up, the best teams build from the back

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Four GKs, with the top two being in the main squad, and the bottom two starting in the U19s squad, which seems fair based on the (admittedly poor) judgements from the coaches.  On the face of things Veloso is the clear first choice, and as he is the captain on arrival, as well as hugely influential in the club, he will get a chance to stake his claim, but the DoF reckons he is not working hard enough to earn his £425 each week, so there may be a move to get Silva some games.  With three of the players having contracts that only last a year, it is a chance to sign Silva to an extension as a backup, then quietly allow Veloso to ride off into the sunset at the end of the season

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Based on the stats, there is not a huge amount of difference between the two.  So some decent training from the Fairly Determined Silva could see him be first choice on merit during the season, but Veloso will be given the gloves to start off (as long as he recovers from his injury).

 

In front of the keepers, will be the solid wall of the defence (hopefully)

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Two trialists join the party here, with three now at the club in total, all who were just hanging around training and asked for a kickaround.  They must be desperate as they are at the perceived worst club in the Chilean league, but a game is a game...

Some consistency in terms of how the coaches judge these, with a strong semblance of youth.  That might work in the favour of Feres who can bring a bit of experience to the backline.

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Faundez is the most interesting character at the club, as he ranks out highly at a range of positions.  Unfortunately the club haven't got the money to clone him, and might struggle to keep him around for too long, but one bonus is that he is signed for two seasons.

His tackling and physical stats make DC look a good choice, but his passing, first touch, and dribbling would see him tear up the MC slots.  He could be the best player at the club due to the versatility, and the final decision about where he plays might come down to where the strengths or weaknesses lie in those positions, in terms of the other players at the club.

 

Next up is the battle to control the middle of the pitch

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A shortage of wide midfielders helped shape the tactical decisions, with the only options being players who also cover full back positions.

With Aviles and Vilches there is a decent central pair to allow Faundez to drop back, but in Gonzalez and Meza there is also a decent DC pairing too.  That might free up room to play the 4-3-3 formation and give Faundez a bit more freedom, but on first glance it is more likely he goes in at MC, with Aviles and Vilches being an older pairing who will be asked to do a lot of work, so it allows more rotation.  Although this may all chance based on the recruitment that occurs.

 

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Slightly more attacking.  The three opening formations all include AMR and AML positions, with one (4-2-3-1) also dropping in an AMC, although there isn't much depth there with Donadell being good across the pitch, and von Schwedler being a raw talent who is probably not ready to play yet, but will be training with the first team to help him develop.

Maldonado is trying to earn a contract, but as this is an area of the squad that is experienced in terms of their age, and he is older still, it is unlikely that he is able to force his way into a deal, with any recruitment here aiming to be a younger option

 

Finally, the men who are aiming to grab the headlines

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Lots of repetition here, so with players like Millan, Millacet, and Celis, working out their best position will be important.  Especially with only two out and out strikers who are deemed to be worse by the staff

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Millacet first, and his finishing stands out as being average, but the crossing, dribbling, pace, passing stats all make the AMR/AML the best positions for him.  Tactically there isn't an Inverted Winger used, at least in the first draft, so he might swap to the right

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Millan is better in front of goal, but is another right footer, with solid winger attributes.  Interestingly the media see him as a Striker (same as Millacet).

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Celis leads the trio in terms of his finishing, and is also equally pacy, but poorer at crossing.

So it looks like Millan and Millacet will get the wing positions, with Celis hogging the middle, at least in the first place.  WIth Donadell available at the wide positions, and Gonzalez as an option on the left hand side there is some depth here to rotate tired legs, or move players around depending on the formation or oppositionb5ba9f00259fd08fa352958b53f906ef.png

With two young options vying to partner Celis, there is not much between them, with Barrientos having the slight edge in terms of being a pacy technical striker, and Monroy being better at the more physical aspects of the position.  They could come together to make the ideal archetypal English strike partnership, but are likely to rotate in and out depending on the reports coming in about upcoming opposition, or based around who is on a run of form

 

So based on that it looks like the starting XI will be

GK - Veloso

DR - Mendoza

DC - Meza and Gonzalez, M

DL - Kailse/Guerra

MC - Faundez and Aviles/Vilches

AMR/AML - rotating between - Millan, Millacet, Donadell, and Gonzalez, R

ST - Celis and Barrientos/Monroy

 

 

 

 

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Trial by fire

After sorting through the team, the very next continue led to the recruitment meeting, where a range of players were suggested.  If they were unattached, a trial was offered to them

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On first glance all of the players could be great, and a difference maker for the team, or could equally just be a drain on wages.

A mix of contract lengths, as I have forgotten where the setting is to change the length of time for the 'Offer Trial' button in a scouting report is.  So those players are on a one week deal.  The rest are a 4 week as I went to their profiles to sort it

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One step forward, and one step back

To test the quality of the trialists, and give the probable first team a run out together, another friendly was arranged against the U19s

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Fairly comfortable statistically, but some poor efforts in the defensive third caused problems.  Conceding two goals from an xG of 0.34 is a worrying sign.

Both the the U19s goals were from midfielders outside the box, where the central defenders were busy marking the strikers, and the midfielders were a bit too far away.  But it looks like the Trialist GK is not going to get a contract offer...

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The starting 11 in this game were a mix of trialists and rotational options, with the only players who are contracted to the club being Guerra (DL), Millacet (AMR), and Aviles (MC), with the latter two getting above a 7 rating.

The subs all came on at half time, and saw out the game, with much stronger performances across the board, which is a positive.

Augustin Navarro is a noteworthy addition to the Trialists, as he was on loan, which expired at the turn of the year, but his contract at the parent club wasn't renewed, and he popped up in a scouting report, so he was invited back to show his worth to the new manager.

 

All told, not the best performance, or the worst, with some positives in terms of attacking play.  Nothing too special from the trialists though, so a different bunch will get the chance next game

 

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Pre-season friendlies - part 1

The run of friendlies has been split into two groups.  Part one is full of trialists all trying to make a case for a deal, with pretty much a full change at halftime, with the subs being a mix of trialists and first team players getting some fitness up.  This is now complete

Part two will give the first team chance to gel as a team for the first 60 minutes, then a full raft of changes with a few trialists given their chance to shine, as well as building the fitness of the fringe players.

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The two games against the U19s have been and gone.

Deportes Iquique are in the top tier in Chile, and predicted lower mid table, so to score two is a good sign, and only conceding three is not too shabby.  Especially as the xG stats show it was fairly even, although they were gifted lots of possession in the San Marcos de Arica half

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The other two fixtures were against lower league teams from Peru, and a chance to build fitness and cohesion, plus hopefully build morale with some wins

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Not the greatest finishing against Bolognesi, although that improved in the second game.  The heat maps show that the opposition dominate the ball in middle of the pitch again, so there may need to be a change in the roles for the two MCs.  They are currently a DLP and a BBM, so there may be a move to a CM or a BWM to try and regain that area, which will be important in the league when facing better teams.

 

Transfers

Half of the team are upset that Donadell wasn't allowed to leave the club, after an offer was rejected for being below his value.  He is 29, so the value is only likely to go down, but at the same time it is only £40k, and the team need to cash in as much as possible.  He is one of the better players at the club, so there is a desire to keep him even if he leaves on a free at the end of the season, so that there is a chance to benefit from the performances

After sending the scouts to look at the top sides in Chile, and speaking about a few, with an eye on a promising player on a loan, there was a surprise negotiation

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Clearly he had no future at Colo Colo as they didn't want any cash for him, but he could be a difference maker for San Marcos, and even if not, could provide some income in the future

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He doesn't solve the Donadell issue, as as they would play on opposite sides, trying to keep the footedness to the same side, but looks to be able to make a difference for the team.  Even better is that he took a £10 wage cut to come join the revolution that is taking place.  He will get a chance in the upcoming friendlies to see what he can offer

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Season Preview

It has taken a while, but preseason is now over, and the season is ready to start

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The two remaining fixtures ended in wins, but the San Simon game was a bit nervy.  Went down early, equalised, went down again, and then the subs pulled the win out, with Urra (a new trialist) starring on debut.  The positives were that in terms of stats it was a clear win, but defensively there were some issues, so the tactic still needs tweaking.

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Two competitions to enter, and not a huge amount expected from the board, which is not a surprise.  But it is nice to start with the low expectations, although it may be a struggle to meet them.

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The season preview expects us to be 15th, which isn't a shock.  What is interesting is they project the starting lineup with a couple of changes.  They have Faundez dropping to DR, and play all of my chosen AMR/AML options as the front four.  Hopefully that will be enough to spring a surprise on our early opponents.

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The season starts with a relatively nice trip to Melipilla, before a real test against Temuco who are title favourites at some very short odds.

By the end of March, six games into the season there should be a good idea of what the season will look like having faced the predicted 1st, 5th, 9th, 11th, 12th and 14th.  If there can be wins against those due to be at the bottom end of the table, and draws against the mid tier sides things will be positive.

The added bonus of the schedule is that all of the league games are on the weekend, meaning players get a decent recovery time between fixtures.  This will allow the best XI to play most games, and not have to worry about rotation for too many games.

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There are 15 teams in the league this season and 18 in the top tier, that will even out slightly next year with three teams being relegated, and only one promoted.  I assume this is to negate any Covid related changes previously.

The squad needs at least 2 U21s in it each match which should be relatively easy at the start.  With a 99 player squad limit there isn't any issues about growing the squad.

What does stand out is the 'other match selection criteria', where U21s have to play at least 50% of the total time on pitch.  Again this will be easy to start with a young squad, but requires at least half of every game to be played by a relative youngster, so there is always a need to blood high PPA players to ensure they develop properly, and are not a weakness in the team.

 

Transfers

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Three players have signed up for the journey so far, and the interest in Donadell has not progressed any further so far, although after a near riot by the squad he is expecting to go.

Vergara played well in the friendlies, and comes in as a replacement for Donadell, either this season, or next assuming he doesn't sign a new deal. At only 20 he will be in and around the AML spot this season helping with the league requirements.

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Tapia comes in to be the 4th CB, as Gonzalez, M picked up an achilles problem so missed most of the pre season, and will need to be nurtured through the season.  He is more of a signing for the future, and will probably not play a huge amount when everyone is fit, but provides a decent starting point for development

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For this save, I am also dabbling in something highly controversial (moreso than using the editor to make life easier).  Each season, the shirt numbers corresponding to the upcoming intake will be kept spare, and intake players will get the first dibs over them.

So when the 2021 intake players arrive, they will take 11-19, in order of appearance.  If two players start their first game together, priority will go to the player with the higher PPA.  In theory the (a) player will get the x1 shirt, through to the (i) player getting the x9 shirt, but it will help show where gaps are in the team, because if the (f) player (for example) gets the x1 shirt, then they are either coming in with a high PCA (perceived CA due to the poor quality of the coaches), or due to a shortage at that position, that may need to be reviewed in the transfer window.

For the first few seasons, the 1-10 shirts will go to the holdovers who deserve starting spots.  The one missing one from the starting XI is Monroy or Barrientos up front as they are young and won't get upset about having a high shirt number.

Those in the 21-29 shirts will get shuffled next season to make room for the incoming intake.  And due to the odd quirks of numbering the x0 shirts (10, 20, etc) will be used for holdover players or purchases as the seasons go on.  It does mean that in a few seasons the starting line up could well be made up of players wearing 50 upwards like it was a Carabao Cup game.

Once an intake is settled, and there are no players without a shirt number, then any gaps will be available for any signings.  So for example in 2025, if only 7 of the 2021 intake are still at the club, then the other two numbers between 11 and 19 will be freed up.  This is highly likely to happen because there is no B team at the club currently, so once a player is 19 they have to be in the main squad, so there will be lots of players released or moved on relatively early until a B team can be put in place

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Season beginnings - February and March 2021

Six games in this period of time, with games against teams predicted to finish across the board, so it was a good chance to see where the team stood

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Three wins, and three losses, with all of the wins coming against teams predicted to be in the bottom third of the table (11th, 12th and 14th in the season preview).  So good points in the early relegation six pointers.

The positives - no loss was by more than one goal, San Marcos scored in every game apart from one, there are nine points in the bag

The negatives - zero goal difference, only one game scoring more than one

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The team are below average so far, with the caveat that this is based off only six games.  So there is work to do in ensuring the players and formation are performing at their peak.

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Nearly off the charts in terms of how busy the team is defensively, facing an average of 18 shots a game.  But holding the opposition to only a 6% conversion rate which is the best in the league.  There needs to be work on cutting out some shots, but without rushing out and being caught out gifting the opposition better chances.

Spoiler

Looking closer at the stats so far in the season, it is defensively where San Marcos are standing out

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Tied for the number of clean sheets (would imagine that having three in six games and not seven would put San Marcos top as it is a higher percentage of games)

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Top three in terms of goals conceded, which will be key to keep up to give a chance to claim points through the season

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Lots of tackles won, but at a relatively low percentage, which does highlight how much possession the opposition have.  But on the lower end of the yellow card list in terms of this table, which is a positive due to the small squad size meaning it will be difficult to face numerous suspensions

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Further up the pitch things look slightly better, nearly at a clinical level, but not creating many chances.  This could do with going up a bit, and in terms of that both Navarro (who was on loan at the start of the save and is now a free agent) and Aban (a 33 year old Model Citizen) are being offered trials repeatedly and then contracts.  But both want paying a minimum of £1400 each week, when the wage budget is limited to around a third of that.

Hopefully as they realise that nobody else is interested they will decide to sign.  Navarro is the better player, although Aban will still improve the depth and bring his personality to the club.

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A slight financial loss means that there is not going to be any way to stretch the budgets to sign a striker, and it is possible that a couple of fringe players might have to be released or loaned out to free up some cash to try and help the financial situation slightly.  Although the cup begins in April, so a decent run there could be the difference between a profit and a loss across the season.

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In terms of squad selection, U21s are making up a solid chunk of the squad, with there being no issues in getting two in the match day squad.  Most of the U21s are backups, meaning that getting the required minutes is slightly harder, although a slight knock to Kalise at DL meant that Guerra has started the past two matches, making a huge dent in the requirements for the season.

Guerra, Rojas (DR), and Ovale (AMR) are always on the bench, so can pick up minutes regularly, with Tapia (DC) and Vergara (AML) rotating onto the bench, and available if needed giving some reasonable options.

With the target for the season reduced to 31 minutes per match it should be easily reachable, without having a negative impact on the side, and the aim will be to keep that number low during the early part of the season to avoid having to play poorer options later in the year when results will be vital to avoid relegation

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April brings about four more league games, which will push past one third of games played and give a good time to look at the table in depth, as well as bringing the first round of the cup, and the first challenges of two games in a week.

The cup draw isn't until the 12th April, and the board expect San Marcos to reach the second round.  Looking at the competition, most of the top tier get a bye to the second round, with the first round consisting of non league teams and the First Division B.  It could throw up a tough draw, but at least there is no chance of coming up against Colo Colo early on.

Depending on the draw, there may be some tactical rotation against Valdivia, although they are a relegation rival (predicted 13th), and Nublense to ensure progression, but if it is a double header against a top side there is likely to be a focus on youth in the cup, risking upsetting the board, but concentrating on the league

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Chile Cup Draw

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A second division team will be the opponents, over two legs, should provide a chance to progress, but looking at their previous seasons they were relatively high in the table, so are not the easiest draw.

The plan is to play a strong team in the first leg and see how things are going after that before considering the squad rotation issues.

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Looks like you are doing a good job. I'm currently managing in Chile as well and find it to be a fun country to manage in. I also love the rule about playing under 21 players, as it forces you to give youth a chance. Best of luck for this season, and hopefully you can build towards promotion.

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On 06/02/2021 at 21:34, efcfan said:

Looks like you are doing a good job. I'm currently managing in Chile as well and find it to be a fun country to manage in. I also love the rule about playing under 21 players, as it forces you to give youth a chance. Best of luck for this season, and hopefully you can build towards promotion.

Not sure about a good job, but it has been a reasonable start.  I am going to leave it a little while longer before declaring it a good job.

 

I also found out this month about the U20 rule in the cup, which made things slightly more difficult.

I haven't had much time or inclination to play, so hopefully as I get further into the save, I will get more engrossed, but Chile seems interesting so far

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April 2021

Starting with the stats this time, as they tell a better picture of the month

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Generally, still below average, apart from defensively.  But San Marcos are not being outdone in terms of xG, so the performances are stable

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Moving closer to the middle of the pack in terms of attacking output, and still busy defensively yet solid.  For a relegation candidate this is not bad on the face of things

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Results wise things were worse.

One point from four games.  The first loss by more than one goal.  And the cup is another story.

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The Nublense stats highlight some of the issues for San Marcos.  It was a close game in terms of stats, but Nublense were 3-0 and 4-1 up, so the goals for San Marcos were mere consolations.  yet the xG is fairly close, and was nearly equal coming into the game.

I think the gap is to do with tactics, as the out of possession instructions were set to a standard defensive line, but a lower line of engagement.  So the midfield dropped off the opposition midfield, and allowed them to shoot from outside the area.  In this game those shots went in.  This was tweaked to a higher line of engagement when it became 4-1 and seemed to make a difference, so it was kept for the second leg of the cup tie.  The test will be whether it works in the next few league games.

 

The first leg of the cup saw a strong team run out, with the aim of getting a good start and being able to rotate the team in the second leg to allow more of a focus on the league games to come.  As it was a 3-0 loss away in the first leg meant the plan stayed the same, but for different reasons.  There was a slight change to the team for the first leg due to a quirk of the cup requiring two U20 players in the squad (it is U21 in the league) and there were only two in the first team squad, one of whom is only really there for a chance to train with the first team for development purposes and is available for every U19 game.  In the second leg, pretty much every player was rotated, with U20 players from the U19 squad given opportunities, along with some of the younger (third string) options in the main squad.

With goals from the AMR and AML positions giving the team a chance, along with one of the older wingers taking a striker role time was running out, but near enough straight after the 2nd goal, 16 year old DR Correa hit a thunderbolt from the edge of the area to seal the 3-0, a 3-3 draw on aggregate and a chance to secure the win from the penalty spot.  With the first four penalties converted, the fifth was a chance to secure the win, but it was missed, although the pressure told on the General Velasquez players with two misses including the fifth attempt, resulting in a lucky win.

The next round is against top division side Audax Italiano, who sit third in the table as April ends, and will make up the only games in June, although some friendlies may be arranged to ensure fitness is maintained.

The positive is that the board aim for the cup has been met, so the pressure is off and the league can be a focus, while there is also the chance to exceed expectations early in the save too.

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A point a game was reckoned to not be enough by the media who said 30 points is usually the safety mark.  Due to the pandemic there are fewer teams, and therefore fewer games, this season, so the aim will probably come down, but aiming for 30 points will still be the aim from 28 games.  After 10 games that is still within reach although 11 would have been ideal for the aim.  And with three teams below San Marcos it is not a straight head to head battle which is beneficial

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Four games in May against 4th, 9th, 2nd and 10th, so the aim will be to get points against Rangers and Cobreloa, and anything from the Puerto Montt and Magallenes games will be a bonus

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  • 2 weeks later...

May 2021

The four games this month take the league to the halfway mark, and the relegation picture is becoming clearer.

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There is still room for improvement in the performance, although the xG stat is above average.  What stands out is while the xG is above average, the goals scored is below, despite being practically identical, showing that some teams are outperforming their xG numbers, so there could be a regression to the mean.

What is a bad thing is the average San Marcos result is 1.21-1.50, so is going to result in losses, although a couple of heavy losses are influencing that.  There needs to be more up front, and with that in mind a slight change was made tactically during May

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The AML moved from W to WTM, and the STR moved from TM to P.  This was to try and avoid the front two being isolated, with the balls to the TM meaning there was a big gap between the midfielders, and then possession was lost regularly.  Moving the target wider means the ball from the defence will go to the AML, who then has players in front in the striking partnership, and the two MCs are not too far away, and there is less of a loss of possession.

This was moved during the first game of the month after losing some good looking opportunities to counter, and a need to overcome a 1-0 deficit.

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More time was spent on corners, with two routines created that are identical in setup, but with the FB either passing short to the winger on their side, or aiming for the near post, which has resulted in a couple of goals too.

There is more to be done with set pieces, mainly from free kicks, with a plan to try and replicate the corner routine during wide free kicks.

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The efficiency stats haven't changed much, but the attacking ones are closing in on the mid point of the league which is good.  If the defence starts to concede more then there will be problems in the results that follow, but as long as they hold strong there is hope.

Two new players join in the quest to keep that defensive solidarity, both being strong additions for this season, but also with an eye on the 2022 season, as most of the squad are out of contract in December.  This is good because the deadwood can be moved on easily, and a refresh can take place, but there is the inherent risk of losing lots players who are important to the club, without getting any recompense.

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Baclini was happy to sign as a Cup Keeper, although he does earn a reasonably large wage, he is the best keeper at the club.  The second best is team captain, and leader Veloso, but Veloso is 34 so this allows him to be eased out in December without too many issues.  Baclini was given a debut in the league, but will be mainly kept for the cup this season to avoid any upset in the club

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Lopez comes in as a way to strengthen the DL position, where there are two players in the first team squad but neither are great.  He will ease in over a couple of weeks, and then take the starting reins, with the hope of keeping the defence solid while adding a bit more in the attacking phases.

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All of this led to a points figure from the month that matched expectations, but not in the games that were predicted.  The tactical tweaks paid off in the second half against Puerto Montt, securing a win that was not expected, before a late winner against Rangers de Talca secured 3 points that were seen as key in the preparations for the month.

Magallanes were too strong for San Marcos, and despite taking the lead, then getting back to 3-2 and a glimmer of hope, but they were too strong, and are one of the teams fighting to be promoted.  The Cobreloa game was one that had been targeted for points, but a couple of injuries, including to first choice WTM Gonzalez, and in central midfield meant the side were lacking a little and struggled to create chances.  But Cobreloa scored a penalty early (from a foul by new man Lopez, past the other new signing Baclini), so it was a good effort to secure the points, and Lopez made amends with the assist for Ovalle's equaliser.

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So after May, and at the halfway point things are looking good.  The season preview odds have moved San Marcos to 14th, at 33-1, with Deportes Santa Cruz in 15th at 150-1, so the signings being made are starting to move the needle.

And the performances are even better than that, with 17 points banked already.  As thirty is the magic number according to interview questions, more than half the required points have been gained, and if Santa Cruz match their first half performance, then San Marcos have already claimed enough for the season.  The aim is probably more like gettign to 25 as soon as possible, and then being able to rotate a little bit more, and see how the youth players perform, although there are only 5 games from the start of October through to the end of the season, so there won't be much time for the intake to make their mark.

The match criteria stat about U21 minutes has stopped showing up, so I can only assume that the team have managed to claim enough minutes already, which is probably down to Ovalle staking his claim at AMR on a regular basis, plus Tapia (DC) and Rojas (DR) getting some extra game time during the month due to injuries.  As these players are likely to age out of the U21 designation for next season, there is a need to find at least one decent youth option for next season.  The scouting team have found a couple of options who could be signed, but the board are now limiting wages that can be offered, so there is a need to reduce the wage bill before anyone else is signed even if the signing is for next season.

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The board are reasonably happy, but there is room for improvement.  The challenge will be to keep improving the squad without having the money to spend on transfers or on wages without selling anyone, and with very little interest in the San Marcos players it will be tough to raise funds during the June transfer window.

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The solution may lie in the cup, with the only games in June being in the cup, and the third round and quarter finals scheduled before the next league games in July.  But Audax are third in the top division, so it is unlikely that San Marcos will progress.  If there is no progress in the cup, then there will be a nice gap of around a month in the schedule to organise some money spinning friendlies and try to boost the budgets.

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The draw for the next rounds has been made, and if, somehow, progress to the Third round happens, then one of two mid table top tier sides await, with Universidad Catolica, one of the three biggest teams in Chile on the horizon for the quarter finals.  It is fair to say that any success in the cup will be hard earned.

 

 

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Chile Cup - Second round

The draw had been unkind, with the opposition being near the top of the first division, and over two legs, lowering the chance of an upset.

The lower league team is drawn at home first, so San Marcos are hosts in the first leg, and a chance to test themselves against better opposition

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2-0 up and living the dream after an hour of play

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Less of a dream at the end of the first leg, with the injury to Donadell being a broken wrist and ruling him out for two months.  With R Gonzalez out injured too, AML is now short of players with only Vegara available for the second leg.

Having scrolled through the rules for the round, there isn't a mention of away goals, and a tie goes to penalties.  Halfway to the lottery of a shootout for the third round, but after a hour the dream was much bigger

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A 1-0 loss in the away leg sees San Marcos fall 3-2.  Not bad considering the gap between the teams.

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Looking at the stats, it seems like Audax underestimated the minnows in the second leg, and it was a fairly even game.  They played a 4-1-3-2 formation (think 4-4-2 but with one MC dropped to DM) in both legs, but the two goals in the first leg came when they moved to a 4-2-2-2 matching San Marcos in that regard.

In the second leg it was much more serious, with the chance to dwell on the possible upset, plus the home crowd willing them on.

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In reality San Marcos were lucky to be anywhere near the tie, with the xG coming out at 3.11-1.25 over the two legs, so continued the passive league performance, although being more clinical for once.

With the cup out of the way, and a mid season break until the league restarts in late July, there have been some friendlies scheduled

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Bolivar and The Strongest come from the available options under 'Larger Team (foreign)', while Deportes Iquique are from the domestic version.  The final game against Deportivo Alfonso Ugarte who are a smaller team from Peru.

All four games should provide a small profit, but nothing game changing in terms of the finances, with three tough games early, then hopefully an easier game to finish up with to boost the morale before the league starts again.

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Mid-Season break (Rest of June and most of July)

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One signing in during the window, which it turns out is a restricted window limited to three additions, with Afolabi coming in to play as the MC-DLP, although he wants to be a DM-DLP.  He had been on trial for a while, rolling one trial into the next and performed well in the friendlies.  Previous attempts to sign him failed when the board refused to offer more than £100 p/w, but after offering Kalise out on loan and freeing up his wages, plus the guaranteed removal of a wage for next season they were willing to sign him up

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He comes in as one of the better players at the club, and being signed for a couple of seasons means he has time to settle in and stake a claim to stay at the club.

In terms of players out, Kalise was loaned out due to the arrival of Lopez, with the aim of freeing up some wages, while Tapia was getting interest from a range of sources, and was unlikely to be signed to a new deal when his contract ran out in December.  The fact that there was interest in him shows he has potential, but the GK position is fairly congested despite the number of contracts running out.  Instead of losing him on a free at the end of the season, losing him now meant we were able to add in a 50% of next sale clause, so hopefully he will provide a benefit in a few seasons

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This was the guaranteed drop in wages for next season, with Aviles signing a big money deal

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He has managed to quadruple his wages, which at the age of 29 could be his last big payday, so while it is a shame to see him going as he performs well, it is hard to begrudge him the move.  Especially as there was no way San Marcos could match the wages on offer.  Afolabi comes in on similar wages, but 7 years younger.

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There was interest in M Gonzalez, our DC, along with Meza his partner at the back, but no offers were forthcoming.  Both are part of the huge number of players due to run out of contract at the end of the season, so he could go on a free which would be a loss, but it could well be part of the system in the lower reaches of Chilean football.

 

Contracts

This is the first team squad, showing the only players who have a contract after this season

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9 players is not enough.  Especially when some of these are low CA players who need to develop.

Baclini should be the starting GK

Tapia has performed reasonable at DC when needed, but needs an experienced hand next to him

Lopez is the newly signed DL who should be the starter

Faundez and Afolabi will be the starting MC pairing

Ovalle and Vergara are mixing between second and third choice at the AMR and AML slots, with potential.  Ovalle has performed better than Vergara this season so far

Amar is an AMC who is reluctant to move to MC, and isn't worth a huge amount, so is unlikely to garner much interest, but is pretty much wasted currently.

Von Schwedler moved from the U19s to the Main squad for mentoring reasons, which hasn't worked too much so far, but he could develop into a leading striker in the future

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If the preview is accurate, then there is 

A good GK

A good FB

Three good AMR/AMLs

If the FB is a DL, then that would mean that all of the intake players come in a position where we have a player signed already

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This is the squad who are out of contact at the end of the year.  19 players in total

Some will be offered new deals, but as the club finances are poor, the plan is to wait until the intake comes through in October.  That will give time to see if any of the intake players are ready to step up straight away, and then sign players where needed to provide a bit more of a skeleton team.

Ideally the following positions would be signed from the current squad - DR, DC, MC, ST, which would give 10 out of 11 starting positions signed.  There may be a few more offered deal to allow for a bench with some quality, but these players would need to come in on lower deals to make it worth it.

There is a limit of 7 foreigners in the squad, although only 5 of those are allowed to be over 21.  The current squad has 5, with three of those signed for the longer term, meaning there is not much wiggle room to add players from outside Chile, but a foreign striker is on the shopping list

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There are actually more than 5 non-Chileans in the squad, with three not counting as foreign due to having Chile as a second nationality.

 

Friendlies

One change to the line up after Deportes Iquique having to pull out due to a clash with their cup tie, so a replacement team was drafted in

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The game against Bolivar was a team filled with triallists, trying to find cheap options to make the team better and start the rebuild, getting more players into the team before the possible mass exodus.

The game against San Simon was the hastily arrange game, and they have a poorer reputation than San Marcos, but the Strongest had a better one and were dispatched just as well.  These two friendlies were played with a fringe team starting, with Millan moving back to AMR after filling in at STC for a few games, and Barrientos stepping in at the ST-P and staking a claim to start.

For the fourth friendly, the team reverted to a starting lineup to gain some practice together, with those that had performed well in the previous games keeping their places

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As there is a short run left in July, it is worth looking slightly further afield. 8th, 1st, 6th, 7th, 15th, 14th in order means that it will be a tough start to the second half of the season, but the final two games in August give a chance to gain some good points.  The aim is to get 8-10 points from the six games, which would leave San Marcos with 25-27 points and plenty of breathing room from the spectre of relegation, but getting to 22-23 points would leave the team in a reasonable position

Edited by scousevasey
Accidental post before being finished
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31 minutes ago, scousevasey said:

The game against San Simon was the hastily arrange game, and they have a poorer reputation than San Marcos, but the Strongest had a better one and were dispatched just as well.  These two friendlies were played with a fringe team starting, with Millan moving back to AMR after filling in at STC for a few games, and Barrientos stepping in at the ST-P and staking a claim to start.

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Slight change of plan...

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August 2021 (with a taste of July to start)

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11 points from six games is better than expected, and better than imagined.

The first game against Melipilla was poor, going down 3-1 early, making it 3-2 then collapsing late on to make the score look worse than the game was.  Veloso in goal was offered a rest, with the new signing Baclini given the starting berth, and despite conceding three in his first game he has performed well.

A surprise draw against leaders Tecumo, with the front pairing taking their chances well meant that there was a bonus point gained that wasn't expected.  With two games against midfield teams next up, these were the ones that were targeted for draws, and the forwards kept rolling with Celis making a case to be given an extension for next season.

The final two games of the run were against the bottom two, and were targeted for two wins.  Despite taking the early lead against Barnechea, they scored two in close succession, with the second being a penalty soon after the equaliser, and I started to think that the game would be lost.  Celis managed to keep his run going, and then a final goal was chalked off for offside with the last kick of the game that would have secured all the points.  While it would have been nice to claim the win, and pretty much clear relegation with eight games to go, a draw was probably fair.

The only real negative of the month is that Mendoza, the starting DR is now out for 3 weeks, so a lot will rest on Rojas, who has rotated in well for a couple of games will have to produce repeatedly

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When Celis scored early against Barnechea it moved San Marcos up to the heights of 6th, but 9th is a good position considering the early season predictions.

With the odd number of teams in the league, there is a game in hand over the teams above, meaning that 6th is within reach by winning the game in hand.  But the key is that the early season interviews mentioned 30 points as the magic number, and with 28 in the bank already and Santa Cruz 13 points behind, and having struggled to get past that mark in more than twice the remaining games it is fair to start to thinking about building for next season.

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September sees three games, with four in October and a final fling in November.

2nd, 13th and 4th lined up, so the aim is to get three points against San Felipe, breaking the 30 point barrier, with anything else being a bonus

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Performance wise San Marcos are actually now better than average in terms of shots, and goals, with the work in the mid season break, along with moving the TM role from ST to AML making a difference

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The second best conversion rate in the league, with an average rate defensively, and with the number of shots being created going up San Marcos are now one of the most deadly teams in the league.  With the way the formation is working (and assuming it isn't worked out by the opposition too quickly), after the off season, intake and strengthening the squad there is a good platform to build from.

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The board are happier with the performance than they are in any individual area, somehow.  Not sure how they have come out with a B grade considering nothing is higher than a B-.  It might be linked to the club vision

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Not helping things financially, but the loss of around £9k per month is not a huge amount, and will help the club avoid being relegated.  Hopefully with lots of players out of contract and only certain ones being kept on there will be a slightly smaller squad boosted by the intake, who cost less but perform equally well

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September 2021

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Poor against the weakest team in San Felipe requiring a late goal to equalise, after being two down.  In fact we went behind in every game this month, so to gain five points from losing positions is good.

A nice comeback against Copiapo meaning more point against the top teams which is important, and then a draw against a mid table team showing that is about the level of the team.  A couple of injuries this month meant the team wasn't as strong which may have contributed to the poor performances, as while the star ratings suggest the depth is fairly equal, there isn't the same familiarity between players as the first team has been fairly settled since the mid season break

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Which means that with five games to go, San Marcos are safe from relegation, with Santa Cruz only able to reach 32 points.  That means there is slightly less pressure on the remaining results, but there won't be too much rotation to avoid a drop in morale.  Some players who need a boost in playing time for their happiness might get a chance to stretch their legs, and with the youth intake due in October there is scope for some players to be introduced early

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12th, 10th, 11th, 3rd and 5th to finish off, so the aim will be to claim 7-9 points from these games to finish strong while rotating (thinking two wins, and a draw or two)

There won't be an October games update as it leaves the November update light, so there will be one for the intake, one for the finish to the league, and then an end of season review

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On 25/02/2021 at 19:41, scousevasey said:

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If the preview is accurate, then there is 

A good GK

A good FB

Three good AMR/AMLs

It took until the end of October for the intake to arrive, and it is fair to say that it wasn't worth the wait

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Which means the recruitment plan needs revisiting, as there will be no plugging of first team gaps with this intake.

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What is worse, is that after the intake team beat the U19s 1-0, and won the xG battle, despite the U19s being supplemented by some fringe first team players, the staff only see two players worth signing.  Ignoring their advice, all of the intake players have been offered Youth deals.

With most of the squad still unsigned, a few more will be offered deals to ensure there is a team to put out next season.  There was the standard news announcement of clubs not extending previous youth players, so all of the big names are being scouted to see if they can offer something to San Marcos next season

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October and November 2021 - the end of the league season

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After securing the place in the second tier for another season there was a drop off in performance.  But there were some good developments.

Against Nublense, the opposition came out with a 5-2-1-2 formation, and were controlling the midfield with the 2 MCs and AMC outnumbering the San Marcos midfield.  Going 3-0 down in the first 26 minutes is not a good thing, but a change to the 4-3-3 formation that has been held in reserve all year, allowed for an improved performance, and this continued in the Ranger game as they played the same formation.  It allowed Alofabi to play at his preferred DM, although he was still upset at being asked to play MC too often previously.

The form of Celis towards the end of the season was a real positive, and the coherence of the squad was built nicely.

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That meant the final position in the league was 10th, a solid first attempt, especially for the favourites to go down, and only a win away from the top five.

The final table shows how close this league is, which is both a good and bad sign for the future.  Positive as with some decent recruitment San Marcos can push on.  But if that recruitment is poor, then they could struggle.  With only five points between 4th and 11th the middle of the pack is tight, and with only three teams in negative goal difference, and eight at either 0 or 1, it highlights the small margins that decided the games.

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The result did satisfy the board, jumping past the aim of avoiding relegation and showing a settled status in the second tier.

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Performance wise, there was not a huge difference from the average side, scoring more, and conceding fewer goals that average, but not standing out too much

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That performance came from a massive overperformance in terms of xG, although there was an under performance defensively.  In terms of expected position there is a slight overperformance, which highlights the close margins of the league.  There is a need to tighten up defensively next season, as that is what lead Santa Cruz to be relegated, and there will likely be a drop off in performance against xG next season

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This is where the problem lies.  The opposition conversion rate wasn't too bad, and 7th lowest in the league meaning San Marcos were league average.  But the third highest amount of shots faces per season meant that many more goals were conceded.  Rangers had roughly the same conversion rate against as San Marcos, but due to facing around 5 shots fewer per game managed to concede 11 fewer goals over the season.

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The second most clinical side, and in taking more shots than the most clinical, it boosted the performance levels.  The change to having the WTM helped allow the ball to go wide and leave two players centrally who could attack any balls into the box.  This is shown by the team scoring the second most goals in the league, a major reason why the team were able to secure 10th

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Celis made the team of the year, mainly due to a golden boot season, so it is nice to have some recognition for the good performances

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A surprise appearance for Monroy in the top scorers list, with him and Celis combining for 30 of the 50 goals San Marcos managed.

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Not a huge amount of representation in the statistical categories, with Celis leading the way, but the signing of Lopez looks good with him making some important tackles at left back

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The attacking play attracted the fans, but there is still plenty of room in the stands for anyone who wants to hop on the bandwagon before San Marcos push for the top tier.  Get on early, while shirts are cheap, and you can say you were there when Sanchez Asambani was just starting out...

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The official San Marcos de Arica season review (DVD production delayed)

First up is the transfers

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7 players signed, and most of them made an impact.  Amar is a bit of a damp squib as he failed to adapt to a deeper role.

It is interesting the board see Tapia as the best signing, as he has the lowest average rating of those that played regularly. Ovalle cemented the starting AMR place as the season progressed, and even took on the WTM role when Vergara played on the left to make the best use of Vergara.  Lopez slotted in well and became a key player, locking down the DL position.  Baclini made the decision to sign him look good and he is ready to step up to be the starting GK.  Afolabi rotated in on a regular basis, with the side ending up with a couple of reasonable MC pairings that offered balance.

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Tapia was sold to free up some wages, and offered cheaply with a 50% sell on clause.  As he is only worth £230 it is unlikely to be worth much, although is contract runs out in another season, and he could be a useful free backup.  It will be interesting to see if he gets more playing time for Barnechea next season

There was one loan out, with Kailse at DL going out after the signing of Lopez.  He played 17 times on loan and made a decent fist of things

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The B- rating is a bit harsh for a team due to be relegated, and expected to only narrowly avoid it by the board.  In the end it was quite cut and dry

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The best statistic about the goal of the season is that it was scored by a 16 year old DR, only playing due to injuries against the lower league opposition in the cup.  Rated as 2 silver stars, he was a gamble, and only played the one game, but definitely made his mark.  It is entirely possible he never sees the pitch again, but he will always have this memory

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Not a huge amount of news financially.  Somehow around 200 shirts were sold outside of Chile.  The obvious explanation is that Celis and Donadell are both Argentine, so keen followers of their careers would pick up a shirt, but then who is going to be so invested in a player who is plying their trade in the lower divisions of another country...

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The best XI gives an interesting insight to the challenge of preparing for the next season, and signing players.

Veloso is on the way out already.  Lopez, Faundez, Afolabi, and Ovalle are already signed for at least one more year.  The others have all been playing for their contracts.

More on the contract dealings later

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Celis leads the way again in terms of stats and awards.  Not really a surprise

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The board have boosted the budgets for next year a little bit, which leaves a bit more room to bolster the squad.

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End of 2021 squad situation

With most of the squad due to end their contracts there have been a handful signed during the late run of the season, but with a month to go between the end of the playing season and the end of their contracts there is still time for a few more to pen a new deal

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With the slight extension to the wage budget, and the expiring contracts there is around £3500 per week to spend, although with the precarious financial position of the club, ideally the wage spend would be under the £8000 p/w mark that the team reached this season

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These are the players who are due to leave the club in December as things stand.

Celis wanted his wages to go up, and left the negotiations without signing,  He will be offered another deal when it is possible to do so.

Mendoza also rejected the offer on the table, and there will be another attempt, but he is of a lower priority than signing Celis

Monroy joins the group rejecting a new deal, and due to his strong performances in the second half of the seaons he will be offered a second chance to sign again.

Guerra was the fourth player who didn't want to sign for the offer on the table, and either he or Kalise will be offered a deal to back up Lopez.  As they are going to be a backup option there is less pressure to get them to sign.

All of the other players shown will be allowed to walk, with only Fernandez at DC, and Silva in goal being second guessed in terms of the depth at the club.  They will be watched after leaving and may be invited back on a low wage if there are no better options willing to sign.

Overall there will be a huge amount coming off the budget if the four players who rejected a deal are able to be resigned, obviously with more if they fail to put pen to paper.  Those that are definitely leaving will clear £3200 per week of the budget, and while many of them offer something on the pitch, especially Renato Gonzalez, the combination of age and wage is not right.

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Looking below the first team these are the U19s players who are rated as a gold star level by the staff.  The next highest rating from the staff is 3 silver stars, so this is the limited pool of players who could get called up.

21g Vega could fill a role if Mendoza doesn't sign, but due to the physical demands of the role he would have to play relatively regularly, which would weaken the team.  Inostroza is in a similar position at AML with some older players moving on.

Pino is unlikely to make the step up this coming season, and then there are three striking options who could work well in a pairing, but if a lone striker system is used would struggle.

All in all, not a lot lined up from the U19s

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This is the players who will be at San Marcos for the 2022 season.

Baclini will take the goalkeeping jersey and there won't be much in the way of backup for him

Rojas, Meza, Tapia, and Lopez will be the starting back four, with Rubio the only backup at DC, and a need to add a second string full back on each side

In central midfield the team are well set, with Almarza, and Medina fighting for one spot, and Afolabi and Faundez fighting over the second in a two man midfield, or combining together if there are three centrally

Ovalle is ready to step up as the starting AMR, but Vergara needs more time to improve on the left, so there is a need for a better option to come in, as well as someone to back up Ovalle

Up front Barrientos has signed, but will be lonely at the minute, with von Schwedler splitting his time between the first team and the U19s.

Amar is still signed, and is likely to be on the edge of the squad unless the tactics move to a 4-2-3-1 or a strikerless formation with the AMC leading the line.  The 4-2-3-1 was the third trained formation but never appeared in a match, so he is unlikely to appear on the pitch too often.  A loan deal for him may benefit both parties.

 

That means the shopping list is

GK2

DR

DL2

DC3

AMR2

AML

ST

ST3

and with a budget of £12k, eyes will be turned to players who are due to be out of contract, especially those at the top clubs in Chile, who might be looking to disprove the doubters.  Time to comb the scout reports

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2 hours ago, matiriffo said:

As an always chilean player of FM, with San Marcos you could get some loans from Huachipato (one of the 3 best youth academys in chile and the game). Good luck man!!

Haven’t thought about loan deals too much yet, as I would rather sign the players and not have another manager demanding they play a certain amount, or in a certain position or role. Although thinking about it as I type, it would add something interesting in terms of tactical shape to try and meet their demands, and the needs of the club.

But thank you for the information about Huachipato being one of the better academies. At least one member of staff is going to become very closely attached to a range of budget hotels in the area during the 2022 season, and may well get questioned about their tendency to be asking about players who are barely 18...

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When I visited Chile a couple of years ago, I finished my trip in Arica and really liked it there. 

It's almost always sunny, almost never rains and almost always feels very pleasantly warm. 

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On 15/03/2021 at 20:16, turnip said:

When I visited Chile a couple of years ago, I finished my trip in Arica and really liked it there. 

It's almost always sunny, almost never rains and almost always feels very pleasantly warm. 

I like the idea of the nice weather. Should help the team play decent fast flowing football (in a few years).

 

I am always amazed that it seems at least one member of the community has experience (however loosely) to some of these random far flung clubs that are chosen relatively randomly

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Beginning 2022

December seemed to take forever, between scouring the scout reports for players who might help, a conveyor belt of trials (without matches) and little time to fire up FM, somehow the calendar has slowly ticked over.

And that means two things 

1) all the out of contract players have left

2) all the deals done to get players who were out of contract elsewhere have seen them rock up at San Marcos ready to start the season

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This is the first team squad on the 6th January, and there are still a couple of gaps around.

Goalkeeper is one, with the need for a backup.  There was a Chilean 21 year old on trial by he was wooed by higher wages elsewhere, so the hunt is on.

Defensively the side should be set, with two decent options for each FB slot, and 4 DCs plus a couple of players who are comfortable filling in for the occasional game.

Five MCs means that there is scope to rotate between the 4-4-2 (wide AM) and 4-3-3 we used against dominant teams without tiring out all the options.

Two options at both AM slots (AMR and AML) means there is possibly a need for a depth option to cover for injuries, although some of the STs can move out wide without too much of a problem

Three options up front means the strike paring can work, and if there are injuries then the 4-3-3 becomes a more viable option.

 

So any signings at this point will be depth, a backup GK, or a player who is too good to ignore.  But there is a slight problem with the squad

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Two too many players from outside of Chile.  Which is a real error of judgement in trying to sign the best players available and was due to recruiting on the move, with the squad filled with players who were still out of contract and not keeping tabs on which foreign players were sticking around

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These are the eight foreign players at the club.

Starting with the easy decision, Beltran gets to stay because he is under 20, and the only player who fits that category.

So from the remaining seven, two need to move on, as they can't be registered.

Baclini, Lopez, Gonzalez and Afolabi were at the club last season, so moving them on is slightly easier as it won't be shipping out a new player straight away.

Afolabi is upset that he was played at MC and not DM last season, and there is interest in loaning him, so that would be an easy option.

If there is a couple of decent Chilean GKs then Baclini could be moved on, especially as he has the highest wage of the seven.

Denis and Candia are slated as the starting strike pairing.  Matheuzinho is due to start at AML, Lopez is due to start at DL.  Which seems to point to the DC position and Gonzalez as the other player to consider moving.

Summary

Two players need to be moved on, without causing mass unrest.

It will be two out of Gonzalez, Afolabi, Baclini, depending on replacements that can be found from scouting reports, or random players who rock up at the club door wanting a trial.

The team still needs a backup GK regardless.

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3 hours ago, abulezz said:

Looks like the team is relatively ready for the incoming battle. 

It is looking even better now, as having looked at the squad and moved on a few days we hit the season reset date, and there was a pleasant surprise in the preview

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2022 Season Preview

Before we get into the preparations for the season there was a nice chunk of updates about finances which is worth considering for this San Marcos team.

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Not a huge gap between the teams in terms of money, but if we can close that gap a bit more it would be helpful in the quest to reach a positive bank balance.

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A decent amount, that can hopefully be boosted by a cup run to help the financial picture.

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Last season we started £721,000 in the red, and improved early but the signings pushed the wages slightly too high, despite being in budget, and caused a loss overall.  But there has been a massive decrease in the wage bill this season due to getting rid of lots of higher paid older players

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The finance team see us gaining around £500k this season, so pretty much the whole of the TV deal.  Which means we can afford to bring in a player or two, but could do amazing things if we can trim the wage bill a little more

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This is great in terms of adding players as the season goes on because there is room to add them in.  So a difference maker will be able to step in relatively easily with the money to make it work.

 

In the league there are a couple of changes taking place, as the league starts to rebuild after limited relegation in previous years

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Four more games in the leauge, and two going down means the aim is 15th at a minimum although the board and players want to aim for midfield.  The playoffs for the second promotion spot could be a bit of a lottery after the tightly compacted table last season

Aside from that there isn't much change, with the only issue for San Marcos is registering all their non-Chileans, and Sanchez Asambani is working on loaning players out to try and avoid a riot.

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The media dream team is made up of players from the three relegated teams, and the gap in odds between the top teams and 4th shows there is a gap in quality between the two leagues.  But the big surprise is that San Marcos are predicted 8th.  Although they have the same odds as the team predicted in 11th, and there is not much to separate teams throughout the league.

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With the big changes in the squad the dynamics has changed a lot.  With the plans to move two players out the importance of Gonzalez will make it harder to send him out, but hopefully a loan deal keeps the squad happy.

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2022 Pre-Season

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The four friendlies went relatively well, as Cienciano were expected to win and it gave a chance for the new players to bed in, while some trialists had the opportunity to join the ranks throughout.

Not the heaviest schedule, but one that helped with the preparations for the new season.

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And the board were happy going into February.  The cricitism is about a player released at the end of their contract, and in comparision to the finances of Vilches and Veloso who are unsigned the board are sad that there was no income from him going.

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It is safe to say that we weren't going to be offering the same level of wage to him, so it is a good move to Aviles.  But as he was in the final year of his contract on arrival, no teams wanted to pay for him, and if he had signed they would have been put off by him recently putting pen to paper.

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Elsewhere things look good, although not quite good enough for the overall rating

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These are the players signed before the season ticked over

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And these after, which looks like a lot but there was also a mass exodus from the club, with most of these players being younger, cheaper, and while they might be slightly poorer now, have room to improve

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This is the list of players who left when their contracts expired.  That is 12 going out, with 14 coming in to replace them.  With lots of the new players signing for more than one season there should be a smaller turnover as 2022 ends and allow the squad to be strengthened instead of overhauled.

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Two players left on loan due to the foreign registration limits.

Baclini has been covered by the signing of Garcia and Parra, both Chilean and slightly less adept in goal, but they should do a reasonable job for a mid table side.

Afolabi heads back to Nigeria for the season, and brings in some money which the board like, helping to avoid issues of him getting upset about the formations.

Gonzalez didn't attract any attention as his extension was relatively recent, despite offering to pay a chunk of his wages, or offering him on loan with no fees to pay.  Instead he was asked to engineer a move, wanted to stay, was demoted to the U19s and then got upset, asked for a transfer, but was unable to find anyone willing to take him.  There will be renewed attempts to move him on in the mid-season window.

That does mean that there is space for one more foreign player, whether that is recalling one of the two out on loan, or keeping the slot free to pick up a difference maker in an area of weakness.

 

One challenge is that the final three signings came after the window closed, and can't be registered currently which is annoying.  I am pretty sure that last season any free signings were able to be added to the squad.  Hopefully they are happy to muddle around in the U19s and play in the cup until the registration window opens again.

 

With the season due to be started, next up, the odds for San Marcos have lengthened slightly, going out to 33-1 and moving them to 11th in the prediction list.  Not too bad considering the massive turnover in players from a team expected to be relegation fodder the previous season.

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February 2022

A lot of new faces to try and bed in, with something like 9 debuts handed out in the first game of the season.

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And a good start, against middling opposition admittedly, with the new strike pairing combining for four goals and another from Barrientos off the bench.

Copiapo have the same 33-1 odds as San Marcos, with Valdivia and Barnchea being even longer shots for the title, and Valdivia are favourites for the bottom of the table, so it wasn't the hardest start to the season, but it is good points to pick up early

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Three games (two for some teams due to the odd number of teams in the league) is really too early for statistics, but this one jumped out due to San Marcos being a massive outlier.  26% conversion rate, with the next highest coming in at 14%, is no way sustainable, but if it lasts through March then it will help with some tricky fixtures ahead

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Palestino and Everton both dropped from the First Division and are among the favourites to go back up, which gives two hard games.  Fortunately they are both at home, but that does mean the two games against expected mid-table Santiago Morning and Nublense are away and will be tough too,  The aim will be to pick up some form of points in every game, but that is unlikely.

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March 2022 - the start of greatness?

With seven games in the rear view mirror the statistics are not moving as much as first expected

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The attacking statistics are still leading the way, with goals against being close to average despite teams getting a higher xG against San Marcos.  There has been some rotation although not at FB which may be impacting on these statistics

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The efficiency stats are not surprising in the defensive phase of the game, with the xG against showing how busy the GK has been.  But at the other end of the pitch San Marcos are flying, and while the conversion rate has dropped a little to 22% it is still way above the rest of the league.  Both Denis and Candia are running at a goal a game pace which will be difficult to keep up, so there may be a need to tweak tactically to make the team more defensively sound and grind out a few wins, but while the high scoring circus is in town things are going to keep rolling

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Seven games in, with every game having two San Marcos goals at least, and a hot streak from Denis after a quiet February.  Candia picked up a knock before the Santiago Morning game and missed two matches, but has kept up his consistent streak with a goal in every game he has played.  The Santiago Morning game was a poor one going down 2-0 then 3-1 with Barrientos struggling to step up after Candia was injured, but a switch between the roles of Denis and Barrientos managed to spark the team into life.

But the big story of the month, at least for the football fanatics in Arica was the surprise wins against Palestino and Everton.  The Palestino game was a rearguard action, with the second goal coming on the counter as they pushed for an equaliser.  The game against Everton was much more equal, but the second goal came in a similar way.  No tactical changes defensively for those two games but they were the first two clean sheets of the season.

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Seven games is still early for the table, especially as with each game week there is one team sitting out.  But San Marcos are sitting pretty, and the nearest team with a game in hand can't catch them from that.

The caveat, apart from it being early, is that the teams San Marcos has faced currently sit in 3rd, 7th, 8th, 10th, 14th, 15th, and 17th, so lots of teams in the lower reaches of the table, so despite having seen off two of the promotion favourites there are still tough games to go.  Hopefully the joys of momentum and a positive mood around the club can keep San Marcos rolling for a few more games before a sticky spot.

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San Felipe will be tough straight up, but the rest of the month is slightly easier, leaving the challenging games against Cobreloa and Cobresal for May.  April also brings the first round of the cup, but with the draw not happening until the 11th April the cup preview will have to wait.

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2022 Cup Draw - First Round

This is made up of non-league teams and the teams from the second tier, so all draws should have a reasonable chance to progress over the two legs, especially with the strong start in the league

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Three all second tier ties, and San Marcos avoid that which is a positive, with Everton facing San Felipe being the tie of the round

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San Marcos will be facing General Velasquez over the two legged tie

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And for those who are following along it is a repeat of the draw from the 2021 season where a relatively strong but older team struggled in the away leg, and then a rotated team assuming the tie was gone, managed to fight back in the home leg and secure progress from the lottery of penalties.

Hopefully a stronger squad, and a better team mindset means this will be done and dusted after the first leg, with a couple of players set to make their debuts after arriving after the league registration deadline

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April 2022 - where the reign of Asambani is shown to be that of a fool

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The first bad run of the season, centred around the rotation required for the midweek games of the cup.

A good draw against a strong San Felipe team followed by an expected win against Concepcion, albeit laboured led to the first loss of the season against Puerto Montt who were 12th at the time.  There was some rotation for this game, and then lots of the first leg against General Velasquez, which backfired, but a few players were looking tired throughout so needed to rest a bit but there is not yet the depth in the squad to have two solid sides.

Velasquez also played a 4-4-2 diamond and the four men in the central areas caused issues for the two MCs for San Marcos.  A switch at half time to the 4-3-3 stemmed the tide and secured an away goal, but it was too little on the day.  For the second leg the 4-3-3 was used from the start, but the close run of of games and a couple of knocks meant the team was lacking and couldn't score enough goals to sneak through.  So it means that the board expectation for the season has been missed.

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It hasn't upset the board too much, although the poor results see the criticisms start to fill up, but the good start means that there is credit in the bank.

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With three games until the June and July break there is a slight fall for San Marcos, but as they are aiming for mid table and are 7 points clear of 10th after 11 games is a good building block for the second half of the season.  A few more trials have been offered out to see if there is a star lurking who can be added to the side for the second half of the season, but there is nobody so far.

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May sees three games, and Cobresal is the headline game as Cobreloa have dropped away slightly.  The aim will be 7 points from the month, with wins in the home games, and then reviewing the aims for the second half of the season, where there is a bit of fixture congestion building up due to the slightly larger league this time around

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May 2022

A short run of games because this was the month where San Marcos had their down week due to the odd number of teams in the league

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Six points is not a bad haul, and the target of seven was in reach with 83 minutes gone against Cobresal despite having fallen down 1-0, but a late late goal in added time meant no points were claimed which is a bit of a shame.

Candia continues his goal scoring pace despite being blanked to end the month, while Denis is back to his patchy form and the chance to register the late signing of Guajardo means there will be two strike pairings who can rotate.  The plan to have two teams who can rotate is getting closer, although there is a drop off in quality between the two options and there is going to be a need for this once the season restarts in July.

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In terms of performance there is still a need to tighten up defensively, and possibly to slow down our attacking game to improve the pass completion rate, but the quick counter attacking side of things is helping the offensive side of the game

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No longer such an outlier in the attacking game, but still converting at a decent rate.  Ideally there would be a few more shots per game with the same clinical ratio.  Defensively the side are still busy, but the most secure of the many busy sides with a low conversion rate against due to a combination of good keeping and forcing poor shots.

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So at the break San Marcos are tied for 3rd in the league, a massive overperformance in terms of expectations.  And they were not too far away from sneaking the points at Cobresal that would have left them tied for 2nd with their final opponents of the month.

With the season preview listing San Marcos as 10th (at the start of June) there is a nine point gap over that place which is a decent cushion.  Two games to go until the halfway mark with Magallanes and Rangers the final teams to face, both of whom are languishing in the lower reaches of the table so hopefully there will be points to pick up.

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Due to the poor performance in the cup there are no fixtures lined up in June, so before the squad go for their break some friendlies have been lined up to have a mini pre-season and ensure the team are ready to go for when the league starts back up.

There may be a minor bit of recruitment in the break to shore up any glaring gaps in the squad because the fixture list gets very busy in July and August with midweek fixtures a plenty, before reverting to one game a week between September and the end of the season in November.  Unfortunately the San Marcos week off comes in the later reaches so they will face a very heavy schedule with nine games in total in August.

This is why there will need to be two distinct teams ready to go to avoid an increase in injuries, and challenge teams in terms of fitness late in games.  Hopefully a slightly weaker team who are fresh will outperform a tired but stronger opposition.

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These are the two completely separate teams, but it is likely that Garcia will be able to stay fit in goal despite the increase in games.

There is a 5th and 6th CB (Rubio and Gonzalez), 3rd DL (Kalise), 5th MC (Melendez), but it will be worth looking at an extra attacking player who can fill in on the wings and up front, as Faundez can cover at DR if required.

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These are the attacking players at the club, with Ovalle, Beltran and Denis providing flexibility out wide, meaning the extra cover could be a central striker, meaning Von Schwedler could step up in a mini injury crisis if required.

Based on the star ratings from the staff, who are poor so more than one pinch of salt is required, there are some weaker areas of the squad, but there is a nice balance between the two teams with each ST, MC and DC pairing containing one of the strongest two at the club.  The left hand team is stronger on the flanks and will probably get the nod against the bigger hitters of the league, and the plan is to rotate so players don't play two games in one week, and the bench is mainly the extra players in the squad to allow full rest but there will need to be some overlap.

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Mid-season break 2022

A relatively busy time at San Marcos considering there wasn't a lot planned apart from a couple of friendlies to keep the legs working.

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Three players left, with two being permanent, and the third seeing out the rest of a contract.

Matias Gonzalez was a victim to the registration rules for foreign players and was sidelined due to similar quality locals being available, and having spend the first half of the season in the U19s he moves on to Rangers.  Getting a fee for an unwanted player is decent as most have left for nothing so far.

Faundez was on an expiring contract so his value plummeted to £20k, so when Audax showed interest and were willing to do a deal for £50k and 50% of the next sale it was worth doing.  It does leave a hole at MC and in the cover at DR, which upset the players due to a lack of squad depth, which sent Sanchez Asambani looking for someone to fill the gap.

Baclini returned from loan, and as another player who lost out due to foreign registration limits was sent back out again.  His contract expires at the end of 2022 so it is just a way to avoid him kicking up a stink for not playing.

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Gonzalez, Guajardo and Duran were all registered for the second half of the season, and then Vivas comes in after Faundez left to fill the void.  He takes the final foreign slot which vindicates the decision to leave a space free as he is better than the Chilean options available.

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In terms of fixtures there were two easy wins in the games against the weaker teams, and then a decent result with a draw against Iquique although it was a poor draw.  A few injuries through the break made things harder for building up consistency in the two different line ups but most players are returning to fitness ready for the resumption of the league campagin.

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News came of the intake, and the only green notes were all to do with the centre of the park, with a DM, MCs and AM all referenced but then outside of that there is not a lot to expect.  With the club still heavily in the red there is no money to be able to improve facilities, so it will be more raiding of the free transfer market in the summer to improve the squad it seems

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