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trman73

After 10 years with FM, my first career update

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Posted (edited)

With four games to go in the season, here's where we stand...

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Our final four games are:

  • at Anafogasta (13th)
  • at Hauchipato (4th)
  • home vs. Deportes Temuco (14th)
  • home vs. Colo Colo (11th)

Three teams that are really struggling, and a Hauchipato team that we beat 4-2 in the Opening Stage. Really if we don't win this next game at a very mediocre Anofagasta team, it's probably over for us in terms of the playoff chase.

Chilean First Division Closing Stage: Deportes Anofagasta (3-0-8, 9 pts., 13th) vs. Santiago Wanderers (5-2-4, 17 pts., 8th)

We really missed an opportunity in our last match, and I need the guys to step up here, collect a win on the road against a poor club, and keep our playoff chances alive. Again we play the last match of the week, and we know we need a win to stay three points back of fifth.

The match is probably the most frustrating 90 minutes of our season. I can't even count the number of chances we have in the first half without breaking through. In the 75th Anofagasta break through and score, and I see our season slipping away. But Cuadra gets us back to even two minutes later, and we have hope. We spend the last 15 minutes in all-out attack mode, but it's not to be. We draw 1-1, and our chances are hanging by a thread.

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Edited by trman73

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Posted (edited)

Chilean First Division Closing Stage: Hauchipato (9-1-2, 28 pts., 2nd) vs. Santiago Wanderers (5-3-4, 18 pts., 8th)

It's international break time, so we get two weeks before our next match. During the off week lose Augustin Parra, who suffers a hernia in training and is lost for 3-4 weeks. Hauchipato has its eyes on the Closing Stage title, so they've got a lot of incentive in this match, and being without a key starter hurts our chances tremendously.

We wind up putting in an inspired effort in this match. Terans scores a softie that the goalie lets get behind him near the end of the half, and Parraguez adds a second in the first 10 minutes of the second half. Cisterna adds one in the 66th to put it out of reach, and we collect a surprisingly easy win, 3-0. The victory puts us just two points back with two home games remaining.

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Edited by trman73

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Chilean First Division Closing Stage: Santiago Wanderers (6-3-4, 21 pts., 8th)  vs. Deportes Temuco (2-3-8, 9 pts., 14th)

With two games to go it's imperative that we win this match. There's just nothing else to say.

Incredibly, we come out with absolutely no energy. In a game that we need to have any shot at the playoffs, we give up two terrible goals in the first half and go down at the break, 0-2. I absolutely rip the team in the locker room, telling them their pride is at stake, There's nothing to lose in the second half, and I go into attack. In the 49th Farfan gets one back for us. We get a major boost in the 57th when Temuco has a man sent off, and in the 62nd, Parraguez scores on a great pass from Farfan to tie it. But a tie won't cut it, and we need to stay on the attack. Sure enough, in the 69th, Jimmy Cisterna leaves a beautiful pass for Parraguez, who scores his second to give us the 3-2 lead! We hand on for the final 20 minutes, and we escape with the win!

We certainly didn't make it easy for ourselves, but I praise the team for the comeback, and with one game to go, we're tied for the final playoff spot. We're not going to catch fifth-place Palestino on goal differential, so we need to win and get some help. Still, we're playing for something in our final match of the season, which in itself is a great accomplishment.

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Well, it all comes down to this. For some reason in this league the final games of the season aren't all played at the same time, and our match against Colo Colo is the final game of the week. So we'll know what we need to do, or if there's nothing we can do, before we even take the pitch for our match.

Here's where we stand heading into the final weekend of the season.

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The team we're chasing, Audax Italiano, has a huge match the day before ours, hosting a Catolica team that will be playing to secure the Closing Stage title. So if they draw or lose, the door is open for us.

Friday night the first match of the week sees Universidad de Chile fall to Iquique, meaning I can't be caught by the team right behind me. On Saturday Union Espanola wins to take over the top position in the league, which adds even more incentive to Catolica in its match as they now need to get a result to move back into first. I progress through Sunday afternoon's games to learn my fate, and get the news I dread: Audax defeats Catolica 3-1, effectively ending our shot at the playoffs (unless we outscore Colo Colo by seven goals). We're basically locked into sixth position, an impressive improvement from the Opening Stage, but still a disappointment.

Chilean First Division Closing Stage: Santiago Wanderers (7-3-4, 24 pts., 6th)  vs. Colo Colo (5-2-7, 17 pts., 10th)

What we're playing for in this final match is a chance to move from 10th to 7th overall in the league over both stages. Finishing in the top half of the table overall, given the expectations set for us at the beginning of the year, would be a nice way to end the season, and in my pregame talk I tell the guys to go out there and finish the season with a strong showing.

Just over a minute in, Ruben Farfan scores to give us a 1-0 lead. When Charquero gets a goal in the 41st, I start to think there's no reason not to just go all out and try to go ahead and see how many we can score. Cuadra adds one in the 64th to make it 3-0, but Colo Colo gets one back a minute later. I'm not going to score five more goals in this game, so I pull back and we hang on for a 3-1 win to end the season.

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Posted (edited)

Santiago Wanderers 2016-17 Season Review

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Chilean First Division Opening Stage - 4-4-7, 16 pts., 11th place

Well, we were predicted to finish 14th in the league, so technically we exceeded expectations. Still, we were much closer to the bottom of the table than we were to a playoff spot, so we'll need an improved performance in the Closing Stage. Grade: B-

Chile Cup - Champions!

A fantastic run to the Cup title was the highlight of our first half. Jonathan Charquero led the competition with six goals, and Gabriel Castellon led with four shutouts in goal. We earned a spot in the Copa Libertadores with the win, so we'll be in continental competition starting in February. We also earn $100,000 for the win in the finals and $150,000 total for our run. Grade: A+

Copa Libertadores - Knocked out in Third Qualifying Round

In a tournament we were never expected to be in, we progressed through one qualifying stage and hung relatively close to a far superior team in the next round. It was a good experience for us, and we carried ourselves well. Grade: B

Chilean First Division Closing Stage - 8-3-4, 27 pts., 6th place

I thought before the Closing Stage that we'd finish top half and challenge for a playoff spot, and we did just that. The match where we were a man up and gave up two goals and then the following match where we dominated play but drew 1-1 will haunt us, but overall, this was a solid showing. Grade: B+

Chilean First Division Overall - 12-7-11, 43 pts., 7th place

Picked to finish 14th in the league, we really gained momentum as the season went on. The cup win showed us we could play with anyone, and the guys responded well. A solid campaign overall and definitely something to build on next year. Grade: B+

Second Half Most Valuable Player: AML David Terans

After a disappointing first half, Terans really turned it on for us in the second half. He started all 19 of our second-half matches (including the Copa Libertadores), collecting six goals and five assists and seemed to have a hand in our biggest goals. His second half rating of 7.16 led the team.

Runners Up: ARM Ruben Farfan wound up tied for the league lead in assists with 12. F Javier Parraguez scored 10 goals for us in the second half of the season.

Overall Season Most Valuable Player: F Jonathan Charquero

Charquero fell off in the second half of the year, but wound up with 19 goals, 10 assists and a 7.00 rating in all competitions. Runners Up: MC Jimmy Cisterna and F Javier Parraguez.

Edited by trman73

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Posted (edited)

With the First Division campaign over, it's awards time. Adrian Cuadra finishes second in the Young Player of the Year voting, and Ruben Farfan is named to the Team of the Year. 

Our own fans also select their awards for our team:

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As the players head to their break, I get some great news from the board: they have increased our payroll by more than $600,000 for next year, to $1.533 million, and have given me a transfer budget of $2 million. My first task of the offseason is to see if I can bring any of our key loaner players onto the team permanently. I make offers on Farfan ($42.5K), Parraguez ($58K) and Terans ($190K) that are all accepted, and I negotiate contracts to bring all three onto the team permanently until 2020. Mission accomplished.

I decide to pass on an offer to retain Mario Parra, and instead make a big offer for 27-year-old central defender Rafael Caroca, who was the best defensive player on an Iquique team that was relegated this season.

Edited by trman73

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Posted (edited)

We secure a couple of nice signings in the opening days of the transfer window, bringing Terans, Farfan and Parraguez on permanently, signing Caroca to solidify our defense, and adding 28-year-old Brazilian Danilo Alvez to give us the third quality central midfielder we lacked when Cuadra was on international duty last season (he'll join us June 30). We've put a half dozen guys on the transfer and loan lists, as we've got some dead weight we need to get rid of and over-19 players really have no home in this league as there are no reserve teams.

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In mid-May the LA Galaxy job becomes available in MLS. Normally I would try to jump all over this job, but I'm actually really happy with what's happening on this club and I think we can make huge strides next season. Plus, the board showed faith in me as an inexperienced coach, and I feel loyalty to the club, so I don't apply (and honestly, it's unlikely I would have even gotten an interview there at this point, but still).

Around the World: 2016-2017 Season

EPL: Man United is back at the top of the heap in the Premiere League, winning with 84 points. Arsenal, Man City and Chelsea round out the top four, and the fourth-place finish costs Antonio Conte his job at Stamford Bridge. West Ham, my favorite club, finishes eighth, seven points back of Leicester for the final continental competition spot. Tottenham does the cup double, winning both the FA Cup and League Cup.

Serie A: This one comes down to the final week of the season as Juventus and Roma were tied with just a one-goal differential advantage for Juve. They win and Roma draws, and Juventus takes it.

La Liga: Real Madrid cruises to the title with 98 points and a 31-5-2 record, 14 points clear of Barca.

Bundesliga: Dortmund takes it over Bayern by three points.

Euro Cup: Sevila wins its fourth straight Europa League title, edging Man United 1-0 in the final.

Champions League: The ultimate competition pits Juve and Bayern in the final, with the Germans taking it, 2-0.

In the Copa Libertadores, all three Chilean clubs fail to qualify from the groups stage.

Edited by trman73

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Posted (edited)

OK people I've got a big problem.

The season switched over to 2017-18, and instead of showing Opening and Closing Stages, it just shows the Chilean First Division. The entire season is just 15 games and runs from July to December. I've gone back to the forums and searched, and it appears this has been an issue for other players as well. I saved the game when the season rolled over, so I can't go back. My last backup save would put me back to the start of the offseason, which I obviously don't want to go back to.

This sucks. If anyone's reading and has any idea if I can fix this, please let me know.

Edited by trman73

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Posted (edited)

And we're back!

I've been informed that starting in 2018, the Chilean First Division will scrap Opening and Closing Stages and will go to one overall league season, played within the calendar year. As a result, 2017 is in fact a shortened season, with just 15 league games and the Chile Cup. So this will make for an interesting year, with each match taking on critical importance.

Anyway, I don't schedule any heavy hitters during pre-season friendlies. A quick recap:

June 3: Magallanes 0, Santiago Wanderers 2: A glorified training session against a mid-level First Division B team. We dominate.

June 14: Curico Unido 2, Santiago Wanders 5: This team was promoted to the First Division and was our big test of friendly season. We go down 0-1, then score five straight.

June 28: Santiago Wanderers 3, Barnechea 1: Another First Division B team, another rout, as Parraguez scores three goals in the first 30 minutes.

July 2: Union La Calera 1, Santiago Wanderers 1: A boring draw in our final tune-up.

We get through the friendly season injury-free, and with three weeks until the start of the season we need to train well and be ready to roll.

Edited by trman73

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Posted (edited)

2017 Season Preview - Santiago Wanderers

We head into this season with a lot of optimism. Here's a recap of our transfer activity:

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In: Terans, Parraguez, and Farfan were brought in as permanent members of the squad after they each played key roles last year. Caroca will start at center back for us, and Alves will get plenty of time as our third center midfielder.

Out: None of the guys given free transfers factored into our long-term plans, and the guys we sent out on loan were backups. With the shortened season, it's better for them to be someplace where they can get game action versus playing in our Under 19s.

Overall we spent the second-most money in the league on transfers. I was given an increased budget and I used it, although not all of it. We're spending $1.3 million of our $1.55 salary budget, and still have more than $1 million left in the transfer budget.

Let's look at our board, and the media's, expectations:

Chilean First Division: Prediction: 9th; Board Expectation: Top Half

Eight Chilean clubs advance to continental play, so if we finish in the top half the chances are good we're one of those clubs. But my expectations are a top four overall finish in the league, and a trip to the Copa Libertadores.

Chile Cup: Board Expectation: Quarterfinals

We won this last year, so to me, anything short of an appearance in the final will be a disappointment. We get a first-round bye for winning the last cup, so we're already in the final 16. We draw San Luis in Round Two, an opponent we should take care of.

Chilean Super Cup: Board Expectation: Not Important

It may not be important to the board, but I like trophies. We face First Division winner Union Espanola in this match on August 10.

2017 Roster Strengths and Weaknesses:

Goalkeepers: Gabriel Castellon made big strides for us last year, and is locked in as our top keeper. 20-year-old David Perez serves as backup and if he sees the pitch at all we'll be in some trouble.

Defenders: Caroca replaces Mario Parra at center back and should be an upgrade. The rest of the defense remains the same. Andres Robles, a 20-year-old, will get playing time as our best backup defender.

Center Midfield: Cuadra and Cisterna were a great combo last year and they return as starters, with Alves a major upgrade as our main backup.

Wingers: Depth is an issue here. Farfan and Terans are the starters and will be relied on heavily.

Forwards: Parraguez was our best player in the second half of last season, and Charquero was our overall MVP. Behind them are some young guys with promise, but barring injury we will rely heavily on these two guys.

Overall our main weakness is depth, but with the abbreviated season I'm hoping we can give the starters a heavy workload and it won't come back to bite us like it would in the second half of a traditional season. I think our defense will be improved after giving up 52 goals, third most in the league last year. Offensively, we should be one of the three best teams in the league.

My Predictions:

I'm going to say we finish fourth in the league behind Colo Colo, Universidad de Chile, and Union Espanola. I think we make it to the finals of the cup, and lose to Espanola in the Super Cup.

Edited by trman73

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Posted (edited)

July 24, 2017 - Chilean First Division: Universidad de Chile (0-0-0, 0 pts.) vs. Santiago Wanderers (0-0-0, 0 pts.)

The opening match of the season is a great test for us against a Universidad de Chile team expected to be near the top of the table. In fact, our first four matches are all against teams that finished in the top half a year ago, so we better be ready to go. For our opener the only starter not in the lineup is Augustin Parra, who was nicked up in the final days of practice leading up to the season. Andres Robles, a potential star center back in the future, teams with Caroca in the back for the opener.

We come out on fire, with Farfan scoring in the second minute to give us a 1-0 lead.

The next 85 minutes are a total disaster.

We give up three goals in the first half and lose, 4-2. Our defense is a mess. The Caroca-Robles pairing is a disaster and we give up an unacceptable 13 shots on goal. It really could have been 7-2. We'll take our lumps, and these guys are going to have an intense week of practice.

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Following the game I make my first serious overture with a new club, applying for the vacant position with the New England Revolution. Growing up in Boston, this is an opportunity I can't pass up.

Edited by trman73

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July 30, 2017 - Chilean First Division: Santiago Wanderers (0-0-1, 0 pts., 12th) vs. Hauchipato (1-0-0, 3 pts., 7th)

Our first home match is against a Hauchipato team we dominated twice last year, outscoring them 7-2 in two matches. We bring Parra back into the starting lineup at central defender, and keep the rest of the squad intact from our disastrous opening match.

For the second straight game we score first, with Terans giving us the lead in the 18th. But this time we build on that momentum, with Cuadra adding a second goal and the defense locking down throughout to give us a 2-0 home win that eases a little of the pain from the opening day fiasco.

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Great read--a lot of people tend to do month-by-month updates, so the match-by-match is a nice change of pace.

Also, I'm much impressed by your success with the 4-2-4.  It can be defensively leaky, as you've seen, but they've got to play past your four advanced players first.  I don't want to derail your update thread by talking tactics, but I notice your shot of your tactics has both your central midfielders on the Auto duty--how well do you find they police midfield for you? 

 

 

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Posted (edited)

Thanks a lot Tajerio, glad you're enjoying it. I play out every match in its entirety so I figured why not just do a match recap for each one. I hope it doesn't start to get stale.

As for the tactic, I'm surprised at how effective it's been after never even considering using it in any of my previous games. Yeah, it can be leaky, and we basically never have the advantage in terms of possession, but both my central midfielders have great first-touch ratings (14, which is great for this league), and their top priority is getting it to the wingers, who obviously collect most of the assists and a fair amount of goals. The central midfielders collect a ton of fouls to stop runs up the middle, which can get us in trouble, but despite all the goals we give up, in terms of ratings and "stars" our defenders are also really strong. Ideally I would play a 4-4-2 with the wide midfielders in attack and one central midfielder on defend duty, but this is the personnel I have, so I'm playing to our strengths, which are wingers with very good passing and crossing ratings, and strikers who can really finish.

Anyway, thanks again for reading this.

Back to the show!

Two days before our next match I get an interview with Robert Kraft, legendary owner of the New England Patriots who also owns the Revolution.  If I'm offered this job, I'm taking it.

August 6, 2017 - Chilean First Division: Union Espanola (0-0-2, 0 pts., 15th) vs. Santiago Wanderers (1-0-1, 3 pts., 7th)

Next up is our first of two straight matches against an Espanola team that is really struggling out of the gate (we'll face them again midweek in the Chilean Super Cup). They lost to First Division B club Iberia in the first round of the Chile Cup and failed to score in each of their first two league matches.

In the 12th minute we're called for a penalty on a corner kick, but Castellon saves it for us. We then proceed to dominate, with Charquero scoring his first two of the year and Cuadra adding a beauty in the final minutes as we cruise, 3-0. Augustin Parra continues his quest to miss as many matches as possible by getting sent off in the 85th (meaning he'll miss the Super Cup), but it's a good win nonetheless, and we've got two straight clean sheets.

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Edited by trman73

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Posted (edited)

Really enjoy the extensive process to find a club and your writing style once settling with one. Keep it up. :thup:

edit - f Robert Kraft and the Patriots. :) 

Edited by tyler16

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August 10, 2017 - Chilean Super Cup: Santiago Wanderers vs. Union Espanola

For some reason the media is predicting an "easy win" for Espanola despite us beating the hell out of them four days ago. But all is not well for us. We'll play this match without Augustin Parra and will also be missing our starting keeper, Castellon, who sprained his wrist in the Saturday win. He'll miss this match and probably two more.

Still, Espanola has been outscored 9-2 in its five matches this year. I'm feeling good about picking up a second trophy in the last nine months.

Prior to the match I get the news that New England has not selected me as the finalist for their open manager position. Instead they go with Wilmer Cabrera, who coaches in the American Third Division and previously managed at Chivas USA, where he did so well the team was actually disbanded in 2014. I was the better choice here. Oh well. It's a disappointment, but not the end of the world. (I do plan to pursue new coaching opportunities at the end of this season.)

Sure enough, we put on a clinic in this one. After giving up a goal in the 7th to go down 0-1, two brilliant passes from Cisterna lead to easy goals from Cuadra and Farfan to give us a 2-1 halftime lead. We tack on another in the second half, David Perez makes some impressive saves in the final 10 minutes, and we win the Chilean Super Cup! Add another trophy to the case, boys!

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Thanks Tyler. I now wish nothing but failure on Bob Kraft and the Revs. :)

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Unlucky on the NER job. Good career so far though.

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Posted (edited)

August 13, 2017 - Chilean First Division: Santiago Wanderers (2-0-1, 6 pts., 6th) vs. Audax Italiano (3-0-0, 9 pts., 1st)

This match is a big test for us as Audux Italiano has rolled through its first three league matches, outscoring its opponents 8-2. A win is likely to put us in the top four, and we will have survived the tough opening stretch of our season. We're still without our starting keeper, but we get Parra back on defense and we're coming off three solid performances in a row. This game will be a real litmus test for us.

We fall, 0-1, on a goal in the 57th minute. But the bigger news is that Parraguez pulls up lame in the first half with a hamstring. I fear the worst, but following the match I learn that he'll be out 2-3 weeks, which given that injury really isn't that bad. I've got a few options to choose from at forward for the next couple weeks, but this was not a good day.

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August 19, 2017 - Chilean First Division: Santiago Wanderers (2-0-2, 6 pts., 8th) vs. Palestino (0-0-4, 0 pts., 14th)

Frustrated with our performance against Audax Italiano, I just want to get right back out there against a Palestino team that has been terrible thus far. We need to get back on track and can't afford anything but a win against this team.

Palestino comes out like the desperate team they are, and it costs them early, as Terans scores on a counter attack to put us up 1-0 ten minutes in. But they tie it right before halftime and the second half is a boring affair until the 71st, when Farfan sets up Charquero for a beauty that puts us back up. We clamp down defensively in the final 20 minutes and collect a workmanlike 2-1 win.

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Edited by trman73

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Posted (edited)

August 27, 2017 - Chilean First Division: Curico Unido (3-1-1, 10 pts., 5th) vs. Santiago Wanderers (3-0-2, 9 pts., 6th)

Curico Unido has been a great story in the early going this year. Predicted to finish last in the league, the recently promoted team has instead played very well, winning its first three games. They've slumped recently with just a point in their last two matches, and we aim to continue that bad run for them and pass them in the standings.

I don't know if the guys didn't take this opponent seriously or if Unido is just a better team than anyone thought, but they really stifled us defensively. They take a 1-0 lead on us early in the second half, but we answer on a goal by Farfan in the 66th, and the game ends in a 1-1 draw. We seemed really sluggish in this game, but it's a point on the road, so I guess we'll take it.

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Next up in the first leg of our Chile Cup Second Round matchup with San Luis as we try to repeat the glory of last season's Cup win.

Edited by trman73

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August 30, 2017 - Chile Cup Second Round, Leg 1: Santiago Wanderers vs. San Luis

We begin our Chile Cup title defense against a San Luis team that is struggling in league play and that we really should handle. We get Javier Parraguez back for this one and he makes his presence felt in the first half with a nice header off a pass from Terans to give us a 1-0 lead. We proceed to dominate the match, but can't build on the lead. Despite 57% possession and a number of quality chances, the game ends 1-0. It's a nice victory and sets us up well for the second leg, but I get the feeling that my coaching counterpart is telling his players in the locker room that they weathered the storm on the road against us and that they are in good position to pull off the upset in their home match.

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Edited by trman73

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It's international break time and World Cup Qualifying is in full swing. Chile currently sits in fifth place in South America with just four matches to go. They've got two tough fixtures in the next six days at Uruguay and home against Argentina, so their fate may be determined here this week.

After the qualifying fixtures are played, here are some highlights of where teams are in their quest to qualify for Russia 2018 with just two October matches to go.

Oceania: New Zealand and New Calcedonia will face off in October to advance to the WC playoff.

Africa: None of the five groups are decided and only Senegal looks like a lock as they're the only team with more than a three point lead with two games to go.

Asia: Japan went 10-0-0 in its group, and is joined by Australia, Iran, and South Korea as WC qualifiers. Qatar and Iraq are in the Asian playoff to advance to the world playoff.

South America: Chile went 1-0-1 in its matches this round and is still in fifth, which would put them in the playoffs. Argentina and Brazil are in, with Columbia and Uruguay likely to qualify.

North America: Mexico and the US have qualified, and Costa Rica is a point up on Canada for the final automatic qualification spot.

Europe: Germany is the only team to qualify outright thus far, but Croatia looks to be next up as they comfortably lead a group that includes Ukraine and Turkey. England looks like a lock as well. No real huge surprises. I'm happy to see Poland, which along with Scotland and Ireland represent my family heritage, lead its group.

Edited by trman73

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September 10, 2017 - Chilean First Division: Deportes Antofagasta (1-1-4, 4 pts., 13th) vs. Santiago Wanderers (3-1-2, 10 pts., 7th)

This was the team that played the biggest role in us not cracking the top five in the Closing Stage last year, as we dominated them but couldn't pull away and drew 1-1 in a game we really needed. I want revenge on these guys, and they look ripe for the picking as they've got just one point from their last four matches and have given up multiple goals in each of those games. Our team is rested and healthy, and we should deliver a result here.

In the first half of this match we have a goal waived off that was clearly onside, and then are given a free kick on a foul that was in the box. When two guys converge to take down Farfan in the box right before halftime and it's not called I'm officially livid. Instead of a potential 3-0 lead we're stuck in a 0-0 game. Still, we're controlling play and it seems like just a matter of time before we break through.

Instead, the game ends in a 0-0 draw.

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I have three takeaways from this match:

1. I'm actually pretty disappointed in our attack this season, and I partially attribute it to my training focus. Last year I switched off weekly training focuses - defending, attacking, and balanced. Since we gave up lots of goals last year, I've focused far more of my training on defense. Our defense is much improved, but it's definitely come at the expense of our attack. We're missing on chances we would have easily connected on a season ago. I may go back to a more balanced training focus.

2. It's my belief that, except for incredibly rare occasions, officiating does not cost teams matches, and real-life fans who complain about refs are just unwilling to admit that their team was inferior that day. (Not sure if anyone here follows American college basketball, but the FBI is currently investigating death threats against a ref who worked a Kentucky-North Carolina tournament game a couple weeks ago. Absolutely ridiculous.) However, the refs cost me this match, and their performance was disgraceful.

3. I am 43 years old. I have a wife, two boys, a satisfying job, and am generally a respectable member of society. And I just spent the last 40 minutes shaking my fists and silently cursing at the little men on my computer. While that probably says something about my maturity level, it also says something about this game and my addiction to it.

Edited by trman73

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September 17, 2017 - Chilean First Division: Santiago Wanderers (3-2-2, 11 pts., 8th) vs. Colo Colo (3-2-2, 11 pts., 7th)

This week we lose a key man in training as left back Frederico Perez goes down with a sprained ankle. He doesn't get written about, but he's been an anchor on our defense in my two seasons, and this year he's got a 7.04 rating in our league matches. We've been playing well defensively this year, and he's been a big reason why. We'll see what happens without him against a Colo Colo team that's right ahead of us in the table and had a midweek Copa Sudamericana match, which they lost to end their run in that tournament. The day before the match Castellon gets injured with blisters (blisters?) and we're suddenly also without our starting keeper for this one.

If we were robbed in our last match, we stole a point from Colo Colo in this one. They dominate the match but can't break through thanks to some timely saves by David Perez and a bend-but-don't-break performance by our defense. We fail to find the net again, and settle for a second straight 0-0 draw. We've now allowed just three goals in our last seven league matches, but are just 3-3-1 in those matches.

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Edited by trman73

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September 20, 2017 - Chile Cup Second Round, Leg 2: San Luis vs. Santiago Wanderers (Santiago Wanderers lead, 1-0)

With the second leg of this stage on the road and no away-goal rule, we need to break out of our offensive slump and put some distance between us and San Luis. And after nearly 260 minutes without a goal, we finally break through, with Terans scoring from the left side to give us a 2-0 aggregate lead and really put the pressure on our opponent. When Terans scores his second in the 38th off a rebound of a Farfan miss, this one is effectively put away, as San Luis has not shown any reason to believe they're going to come back and score three goals. San Luis does break our lengthy shutout run with a goal in the second half, but we're in control throughout, and add two insurance goals, including Danilo Alvez's first in a Wanderers uniform. We win the match 4-1 and the round 5-1. We move on to the Chile Cup quarterfinals, and perhaps break out of our offensive slump in the process.

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There are two First Division B teams in the quarterfinals, and we draw one of them: Rangers. We'll be heavy favorites against them when the next round kicks off in a couple weeks.

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23 hours ago, trman73 said:

3. I am 43 years old. I have a wife, two boys, a satisfying job, and am generally a respectable member of society. And I just spent the last 40 minutes shaking my fists and silently cursing at the little men on my computer. While that probably says something about my maturity level, it also says something about this game and my addiction to it.

 

:lol:

I'm sure one day your kids will appreciate FM the same way you do!

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Santiago Wanderers 2017 Mid-Season Report

It's definitely weird to play 11 games and be halfway through the year, but it is what it is. Let's assess things at the break:

Chilean First Division:

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We're 3-3-2, in 8th place, and have lost just once since our opening match. The best aspect of the season has been our improved defense, as only two teams have conceded fewer than our seven goals in eight games. Offensively, though, we are way off the pace we set last year. Still, we've already played five of the seven teams above us in the standings, and we've yet to play three of the four worst teams in the league, so a top four finish is still in our grasp. Grade: B-

Chile Cup:

We're in the quarterfinals and play an inferior team in our quest for the semis. I'm optimistic. Grade: Incomplete

Chilean Super Cup:

We defeated league champs Union Espanola handily. Grade: A

First Half Most Valuable Player: DC Augustin Parra

Our captain had an injury riddled 2015-16 season but has rebounded to be the anchor of our vastly improved defense. He's played in every game since the opener, and has a 7.11 rating, best of our back line players. Runners-Up: Adrian Cuadra is in the Top 10 in rating at 7.30 and is still just 19 years old. Our goalkeeper combo of Gabriel Castellon and David Perez have given up just nine goals in our 11 total matches and have five shutouts.  

Overall Assessment:

We're 6-3-2 overall in all competitions. We won the Super Cup and are a top-half team in the league. Our current streak of six games unbeaten is a club record, and we've outscored our opponents 16-5 since our opening 4-2 loss in the league. Still, I can't help but feel like we are underachieving a bit. I feel like we've left at least three points on the pitch in league play, and if we took those we'd be in fifth and just two points out of third. We seem to be slogging through some of our matches, and we're not playing exciting football right now. The board is pleased with our performance, but I'm actually not. We need to kick it into another gear in the second half if we want to meet my expectations. Grade: B-

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Thanks Tyler. I play the game at night, when the kids and wife are long gone in bed. I require little sleep so marathon sessions from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. are not uncommon. This is basically what I do to relax on weeknights. I try to leave it alone on weekends. And neither one of my kids have any interest in this game, soccer, or sports in general at all. So it's all me. :cool:

On to the second half of the 2017 season!

September 25, 2017 - Chilean First Division: Santiago Wanderers (3-3-2, 12 pts., 8th) vs. Univerdsidad Catolica (4-2-2, 14 pts., 5th)

We've got seven games to make up a four-point deficit to get into the top four, and this would be a great start. Catolica come in at 1-1-2 in their last four, so they are not playing that well. We play on Monday and are the last match of the week, so by game time we already know that the two teams directly ahead of us in the standings lost, and with a win we will actually jump to fifth overall.

We come out like a team with something to prove. Terans finds Charquero for a pretty goal in the 7th to give us the lead. We then proceed to give up three goals in the first half, and I rip the team for their effort in the locker room.

We go into attack mode right at the outset of the second half, and in the 66th a beautiful pass from our own end by left back Rodrigo Brito to a streaking Parraguez pulls us to 2-3. In the final 10 minutes, both Cuadra and Parraguez have point-blank chances, they both airmail them, and we're resigned to a loss here.

But in stoppage time, Matias Fernandez, who was brought on as a sub for an ineffective Farfan, finds Cuadra with a great pass in the box and Cuadra puts it away to tie it! The game ends in a 3-3 draw, our fourth straight in league play, and we move up to sixth in the table.

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Even though we only get a point out of it, this is the game of the year for us.

Edited by trman73

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The Nottingham Forest job has come up in the Championship. Normally I would jump on this and apply, but these guys are absolutely failing with just three points (1-0-9) in their first 10 matches and a loss to League 2 Mansfield in the opening round of the EFL Cup as well. Throw in a financial situation that isn't great, and I'm going to pass.

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Yikes.

Also, in rooting around my profile after getting my Continental C license, I look to see who currently has the best and worst opinions of me, and it turns out that the person with the worst opinion of me is none other than former Chelsea, Juventus, and Italian National Team manager Antonio Conte! I'm not sure what I did to offend this guy, but I guess I'm glad he knows I exist. I'm also quite unpopular with Serbian coach Veljko Paunovic. Well screw you too Veljko!!! :idiot:

Edited by trman73

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October 1, 2017 - Chilean First Division: Univerdsidad de Concepcion (3-2-4, 11 pts., 9th) vs. Santiago Wanderers (3-4-2, 13 pts., 6th)

A win in this match will likely move us up to fifth in the table, although after four straight draws it's probably more pertinent to note that if we draw again, we'll be down to seventh, a point behind Colo Colo. Concepcion has had an up-and-down season thus far, so we'll see how we fare on the road against these guys. We've got this match and then a mid-weeker in our first leg of the cup quarters, then we get an 11-day break for international play, so I'd like to head into the final stretch of the season on a high note.

For the second straight match we jump out quickly, with Farfan setting up Charquero for his sixth goal of the league season in the 4th minute, and we're up 1-0. This time, though, we keep the pressure on, and when Charquero scores his second in stoppage time we have a 2-0 lead at the half. Charquero hits the crossbar in the second half in his bid for the hat trick, but Concepcion never really challenges, and we pick up a thoroughly satisfying 2-0 win, extending our unbeaten streak to eight and putting us within two points of fourth position in the league with five to go.

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October 4, 2017 - Chile Cup Quarterfinal, First Leg: Rangers vs. Santiago Wanderers

Rangers are struggling in the First Division B and are a team we really should take care of. We make a few changes to our regular lineup, resting Cuadra in favor of Danilo Alves and Farfan in favor of Matias Fernandez. These two guys have played well as subs and deserve a couple starts.

Rangers hang with us for the first half and fend off some pretty good chances from us. But in stoppage time, Alves makes the most of his opportunity by scoring his second goal in the cup competition, and we're up 1-0 at the break. But a couple of defensive lapses lead to two goals for Rangers in the span of just over a minute, and we're down 1-2. Then, a nightmare in stoppage time, as Federico Perez, in his first game back from injury, drags down a Rangers forward in the box for a penalty. Rangers converts, collects the 3-1 win, and ends our unbeaten streak. We are now in serious danger of being knocked out of the cup.

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Edited by trman73

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Another round of World Cup qualifying takes place this week, so let's see who's in, who's got to fight for a spot through the playoffs, and whether any surprising teams are left out.

Oceania - In: No one, although the road to the playoffs was exciting as New Zealand dropped the road leg of its match with New Calcedonia, 2-0, and rebounded with a 4-1 win in the home leg to advance. They play the South American playoff qualifier.

Africa - In: No one yet. The final leg is in another month, when the international and European playoffs take place.

Asia - In: Japan, Australia, Iran and South Korea. Playoff: Qatar defeats Iraq to play the North American playoff qualifier.

North America - In: Mexico, the US, and Costa Rica. Playoff: Canada will play Qatar for one of the final spots.

South America - Chile is in after winning its final two matches, along with Brazil, Argentina, and Uruguay. Colombia, the 7th-ranked team in the world, plays New Zealand in the playoff.

Europe - In: France, Portugal, Germany, Austria, Poland (!!!!!), England, Italy, Belgium, and Croatia win their groups. The playoffs feature Denmark vs. Turkey, Greece vs. Spain, Holland vs. Serbia, and Switzerland vs. Slovakia. The Czech Republic was the second-placed team that did not advance to the playoffs. Wales, the 16th-ranked team in the world, Sweden (22nd) and Ukraine (24th) are the highest-ranked teams to see their World Cup dreams dashed.

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October 15, 2017 - Chilean First Division: Santiago Wanderers (4-4-2, 16 pts., 6th) vs. Deportes Temuco (3-1-6, 10 pts., 12th)

The final third of our season will see us play the league leader, O'Higgins, and also four of the five worst teams in the league. If forms holds and we win the games we should, we'll be in fantastic position to finish top four, as right now we trail 4th-place Curico Unido by just two points.

We come back with our regular starting lineup, including Perez, who gets a chance to make up for his costly mistake in the cup match. Temuco is actually 2-1-1 in its last four matches, including a first-leg win over Hauchipato in the cup quarters, so these guys are playing their best football of the season right now.

After a scoreless first half, we score a weird goal on a throw in that bounces past about four guys and lands at the foot of Parraguez, who slams it home. There's not much else to report on this one, as our opponent just isn't very good. The one goal holds up and we take it, 1-0.

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It's a good thing we held on in this one, as the three teams ahead of us all win. We're still in sixth with four to go.

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October 18, 2017 - Chile Cup Quarterfinal, Second Leg: Santiago Wanderers vs. Rangers (Rangers lead, 3-1)

Well, we've got our work cut out for us, but I remain confident. We're at home, we're the better team, and we can make up a two-goal deficit here.

We don't make things any easier for ourselves by giving up a goal in the 10th minute to go down 4-1. We get one back when Parraguez nails a penalty kick, but we're not playing like a team that's going to overcome this deficit. In the second half we start mounting an attack, and score in the 52nd off a corner that bounces off their keeper for an own goal, and we've got 40 minutes to get a tying goal.

But it never happens. We only get a few decent chances, and our cup run ends with a disappointing 4-3 loss. So we officially have just four matches to go in our season.

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October 22, 2017 - Chilean First Division: San Luis (3-4-4, 13 pts., 9th) vs. Santiago Wanderers (5-4-2, 19 pts., 6th)

If we'd had San Luis on our schedule a month ago they'd have been a pushover. But they've rebounded from five straight losses to win their last three, shutting out their opponent in each of those three games. We need to beat this team to keep our good league run going. And with two First Division B teams, along with a terrible Temuco squad, in the semis of the Chile Cup, there's also a chance one of the continental spots is taken by a team outside the top eight, so we really need to get three here.

We do exactly what we need to do in this match. After a scoreless first half, Augustin Parra scores his first of the year on a corner by Farfans. We play a solid defensive game, Farfans scores one of his own in stoppage time, and it's a 2-0 victory. Our third straight league win vaults us up to fourth in the standings with three games to go.

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Edited by trman73

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With just three games to go in the campaign, here's the table:

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Our final three matches are:

  • Home vs. Cobresol (16th)
  • at O'Higgins (1st)
  • Home vs. Everton (13th)

We should get six points from our two home matches, which may just be enough to get us into the top four that I set as my goal for the season.

October 28, 2017 - Chilean First Division: Santiago Wanderers (6-4-2, 22 pts., 4th) vs. Cobresol (2-0-10, 6 pts., 16th)

Cobresol has been terrible this year, although one of its two wins did come in its last match. Another loss will all but seal their relegation fate, so they'll be giving it their full effort. We're without Augustin Parra for this one due to yellow cards, but we are still heavy favorites here.

The team right ahead of us, Hauchipato, loses its Saturday match (O'Higgins also loses for the firs time this year), so with a win here we move up to third. We need to get this done.

There's no issue with motivation for the fellas in this one, as they come out on fire. Parraguez scores a goal that's actually credited as an own-goal after his wicked strike bounces off a Cobresol defender in the 4th minute. But he gets proper credit for another mean strike in the 13th, then he sets up Jimmy Cisterna with a pretty pass to make it 3-0 for us 17 minutes in. In the second half, Caroca scores his first goal in a Wanderers uniform off a corner kick from Terans (our fifth goal off a corner this season, which leads the league), and it's officially a laugher. We bring on subs for the final 30 minutes and cruise, 4-0, with Castillon adding to his now league-leading shutout total.

We've now got a month off before our huge match against O'Higgins. We're up to third in the league with two to go, and if we can get a result there, we at least clinch a spot in the Copa Sudamericana.

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Edited by trman73

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During this month-long break, a number of attractive managing positions open up around the football world. One I apply for is at Aston Villa, which is 17th in the Championship. Another is the Chicago Fire of MLS, which just completed a lackluster campaign in 19th place.

Just over a week after I submit my application, I get an interview at Aston Villa. Two days later, the Wanderers board proposes contract renewal talks. I'm still under contract until June of next season, and I'm torn here. I've had a good run with this team, and have the full support of the board. They have a commitment to building up this team, and I enjoy working here.

But my future as I see it is ultimately not in Chile. So I decline the renewal talks and will see what opportunities are out there for me, either at Aston Villa or somewhere else.

It won't be at Aston Villa, as they go in another direction. Chicago does too, hiring MLS retread Frank Klopas. I'm not disheartened; this will happen for me eventually.

International Update

Plenty of action takes place around the world during our break, including...

  • Two Brazilian clubs, Atletico Mineiro and Santos, advancing to the final of the Copa Libertadores (six of the final eight clubs in this competition were from Brazil).
  • Rangers, the team that beat me in the Chile Cup quarters, advancing to the final after knocking off another First Division team, Temuco. They will play O'Higgins for the cup.
  • Seattle and Columbus advancing to MLS Cup.
  • And of course...

World Cup Qualifying

In Africa, DR Congo, Nigeria, Morocco, Senegal, and Congo make it.

In the playoffs, Canada takes its home leg over Qatar, 3-1, then loses 4-1 in the road leg and the Qataris advance.

Colombia handles New Zealand in the other playoff.

And in Europe, it's Denmark over Turkey, Spain over Greece, Switzerland over Slovakia, and Holland over Serbia.

The World Cup teams are set, and the draw will be held December 8.

Edited by trman73

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November 26, 2017 - Chilean First Division: O'Higgins (9-3-1, 30 pts., 1st) vs. Santiago Wanderers (7-4-2, 25 pts., 3rd)

Well, this is my biggest league match as Wanderers boss. A win here all but clinches a top-four spot and a trip to the Copa Libertados. All that stands in our way is the best team in the league. O'Higgins is an offensive powerhouse, scoring seven more goals than anyone else in the league. They're defensively stingy as well, conceding just 12, two more than us. The day before our match, second-place Audax Italiano loses, meaning that with a win, O'Higgins clinches the league title.

But our team is rolling right now. We've won four straight league matches and have not lost in the First Division in more than three months, going 5-4-0 in those matches. We're totally healthy, rested, and ready for this match. The distractions of me seeking new job opportunities have given way to complete focus on this match.

O'Higgins breaks through first with a goal in the 13th, then fends off a number of chances from us to hold the 1-0 lead at the break. Early in the second half some great passing in the box leads to a Charquero equalizer and it's a new game at 1-1. O'Higgins retakes the lead in the 57th, but then has a man sent off in the 68th and we've got about 25 minutes to score the tying goal. It comes in the 82nd, as Charquero hits a streaking Parraguez for the tying goal.

With nothing to lose, I remain in attacking mode a man up to try to take all three points in this match. It comes back to bite us, as O'Higgins scores on a counter attack in the 90th minute, and we lose, 3-2. We play well in this match, and I need to take the blame for leaving a point out on the pitch. O'Higgins clinches the First Division title, we fall to fourth, and we need to win our final match to secure the top-four finish.

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Edited by trman73

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December 3, 2017 - Chilean First Division: Santiago Wanderers (7-4-3, 25 pts., 4th) vs. Everton (2-7-5, 13 pts., 15th)

Our final match of the season is against our arch rivals from Everton. They are safe from relegation as Cobresol will be the team going down, but their primary motivation in this match will no doubt be to keep us out of the Copa Libertadores, which they will probably do with a win. On the other hand, a win officially clinches a top-four sport for us, and we still have a chance at third if we win and Hauchipato loses against Colo Colo. Hauchipato and the team right behind us, Curico Unido, each play on Saturday, while we play on Sunday to close out the season, so for the second straight year we'll know what we need to do before we take the pitch for our final match.

The Saturday matches basically turn our final match into a glorified friendly. Hauchipato destroys Colo Colo, 7-1, to clinch third. Curico Unido loses, and we're in fourth place with a three-goal advantage in differential over the fifth-place team, Catolica. So unless we really screw up here in the finale, we're finishing fourth, which is fine with me.

Technically the game might not mean much, but our guys don't play like it. They play like it's a rivalry game. A soft shot that Everton's keeper can't handle turns into an own-goal in the 20th minute to give us the lead. Charquro adds another late in the first half, and we're up 2-0 at the break. Our goal in the second half is to (obviously) win this game, but also get a clean sheet for Castellon to give him a league-leading eighth for the season.

We do just that. Charquero adds his second of the match in the closing minutes, and we win, 3-0. It's a great end to a fine season, and we finish in 4th place with an 8-4-3 record.

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Posted (edited)

2017 Santiago Wanderers Season Recap

Chilean First Division: 8-4-3, 28 pts., 4th

We set a goal of finishing top four in the league, and we made it happen. I'm very pleased with our performance. I was correct in my assessment that we'd finish top three offensively, as our 27 goals tied for third. But I never imagined we'd concede the fewest goals in league play. We conceded 13 in 15 matches, with Gabriel Castellon picking up a league leading eight shutouts and conceding just 12 goals in 13 matches. He was the best keeper in the league, and the whole defense played its part in this. Jonathan Charquero finished third in the league with 10 goals. Overall, a really nice performance by our team. Grade: A-

Chile Cup: Knocked out by Rangers in Quarterfinals

After winning this thing a year ago, a quarterfinal exit just isn't acceptable. Still, perhaps the early exit kept us fresh for our final league matches. Grade: C-

Chilean Super Cup:

Won it. Grade: A

Most Valuable Player: DC Augustin Parra

I don't care what the fan voting says; the story of the year was our defense, and Parra was the anchor of that defense. He finishes eighth in the league overall with a 7.29 average rating, second among all defenders. Just a great year by our captain. Runners Up: F Jonathan Charquero was the offensive catalyst for our team, particularly in the second half. GK Gabriel Castellon was the best keeper in the league. And DL Oscar Opazo was another key to our defense and I believe was the best defensive right back in the league.

The fan end-of-season award voting finishes like this:

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Overall:

The cup disappointment doesn't diminish the fact that we met our expectations for the league. I'm really proud of the team this year, and with the majority of our young core coming back next season, there's no reason to believe we can't continue to build on this and legitimately challenge for the league title next season. Grade: A-

Edited by trman73

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There's huge news on the potential job front. West Ham fires Slavan Bilic on December 9. This is my favorite team in football, and I apply immediately. I can't imagine I will be in the running to get this job, but I absolutely have to apply. But sure enough, my interest in the position is laughed off, and it's back to the drawing board.

I'm still the coach of the Wanderers, and I owe them my best efforts. With the off-season upon us, I have some key players with contracts up for renewal. I make offers to the following players:

  • DC Augustin Parra
  • GK David Perez
  • MR/MC Matias Fernandez
  • DC Renoldo Ahumara
  • AMR Roberto Saldias
  • AML Jefferson Castillo
  • F Fabian Pavez

The big question mark of the off-season is Jonathan Charquero, who I can't sign because he's partially owned by an agent. We'll see.

The post-season awards are announced, and I finish second for First Division Manager of the Year, just behind Cristian Aran of league champ O'Higgins. Adrian Cuadra finishes third in Young Player of the Year voting (after winning it last year), and he also finishes in the First Division Team of the Year. I'm really disappointed that more of my guys didn't get league honors, especially Parra and Castellon.

This will be a weird offseason as I try to strengthen the team while at the same time trying to find a new position that fits my ambitions. We'll see what the next month brings.

Edited by trman73

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As the new year rolls over, I make an offer on one player: forward Santiago Giordana, who played well last season for an Argentine Second Division club. Our backup forwards netted a grand total of zero goals a year ago, and we need someone who can put the ball in the net if he comes on in the 70th minute. My transfer offer of $200,000 is accepted, and I bring this guy in at a salary of $95,000 a year for the next two years.

But I will never coach him.

That's because I've received, and accepted, a job offer. After unsuccessful applications at Chicago, Aston Villa, and Brighton & Hove Albion, I receive a job offer in what is probably my favorite league to coach in and the country where, over the course of my overall career playing FM, I've had the most success.

On January 2, 2018, I agree to a two-year, $525,000 annual contract with...

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GENOA CFC!

I love Serie A. My greatest success came as manager of Sampdoria in FM15 (I'll tell that story at some point), and I also coached Fiorentina to great success in FM13. I can't believe I was offered this job after two seasons managing in Chile. I'm thrilled to accept, and look forward to taking over a team that is halfway through a very average season thus far.

Edited by trman73

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Some Notes on Managing in Chile

I never managed in Chile prior to this career, so here are some thoughts:

Overall I enjoyed it. Prior to this save, I managed one year in Colombia and that was the entirety of my experience in South America.

Obviously Brazil and Argentina dominate here. Had I stayed with the Wanderers, realistically I had no shot of advancing to create any sort of true threat in Copa Libertadores, the main continental cup competition, without a mult-year commitment, which I just didn't want to make.

The Chilean First Division itself is pretty weird. This season the teams that finished second and sixth in the league played in some sort of playoff, and I don't know what for. I finished fourth but am not convinced we advanced to the Copa Libertadores, although the rules stated that we did. Even stranger, Temuco finished 13th in the league but was for some reason relegated. The rules are strange.

Still, taking on a team with low expectations and advancing them to the main continental competition really opened up things for us financially, and the boost to salaries and the transfer budget made things easier. Had I stayed for 2018, I actually think we would have had a shot at the league title.

Normally when I use my random-selection process to choose my country and team, and my club doesn't have high expectations or is in a lower league, I need to take them pretty far, then accept a job in what I call a "bridge" league (usually for me that's MLS). Then, assuming I am successful, after a couple years there, I get a job in Europe in one of the major leagues. So there was certainly a benefit starting my career in this league, which is ranked 23rd in the world.

So in the end I'd say that I liked starting in Chile more than I would have in the lower tier of, say, the Netherlands, Belgium, or Russia. But I'd also say that if I flame out in Italy, Chile will not be the first place I run to for my next job.

Edited by trman73

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Before I leave Chile, I take out an ad in El Mercurio thanking the Santiago Wanderers' board, coaches, players and fans for their support. We accomplished good things in my two years there, and I'm pleased to say that whoever takes over that team will be in a better position than I was when I took over.

I pack up my family and head to the northwest coast of Italy. Fans of Genoa CFC are celebrating the team's 125th anniversary in 2018, making them one of the oldest clubs in Italy. They are basically the Boston Red Sox of Italian football, enjoying immense success in the early days of football in Italy, winning nine titles between 1898 and 1924. Unfortunately, that '24 title was their last, meaning they are on a 94-year spell without a top-tier league title. They also have one Italian Cup title, in 1937. From 1995 to 2007 they were down in Serie B, but since then they've been in the top division. In those 10 years back in Serie A, they finished fifth in 2009, and have not finished in the top eight in any other season. They sacked Croatian Ivan Juric on December 19, after he led them to a 23-15-21 record in his 18 months in charge. 

Genoa is currently 13th in Serie A with a 5-7-6 record. They've scored just 12 goals in their 18 matches, fourth fewest in the league. Defensively they've been better, allowing just 15. They are still alive in the Italian Cup, and have a quarterfinal match at home against Lazio in a couple weeks.

I've got five days to get my legs under me here in Italy before we face Fiorentina at home in my first match. That's enough time to assess the squad, set our formation, and get a sense of what our (enormous) staff has going for it.

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Edited by trman73

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In my introductory press conference there's a lot of interest in the fact that I'm coaching the arch rival of one of my favorite clubs, Sampdoria (we actually share our stadium with them). It's just a coincidence, obviously, and I blow off any idea that Genoa has anything but my full dedication.

I make a few adjustments to my coaching staff, getting rid of some surplus scouts that only have knowledge of Italy, and letting some redundant physios and fitness coaches go. I make offers for a new assistant coach (the last one left with Juric), and a coach that will focus exclusively on defense.

In looking over the team, I can see why they are struggling. Very average all over the pitch. Our best player is actually our keeper, Mattia Perrin (valued at $13M) with Argentinian central defender Ezequiel Munoz also looking like a solid contributor.

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Overall the defense is where our best players are. Offensively this club has been struggling to score playing a traditional 4-4-2, and we've got a couple guys who I think can take on the winger roles in the 4-2-4 formation I had success with in Chile. I'm taking a chance by going with this tactic in a much higher-quality league, but I fell in love with the formation with the Wanderers, and if it doesn't work here I can go back to the 4-4-2 this team has been playing.

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With seven matches in the next 22 days, I'll have plenty of opportunities to evaluate the squad and make some decisions before the transfer window closes in a month. We're spending slightly above our allotted $39.9 million payroll, and have less than $1 million available for transfers, so if I want to strengthen this squad I have to offload some guys. 

Edited by trman73

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January 7, 2018 - Serie A: Genoa (5-7-6, 22 pts., 13th) vs. Fiorentina (7-7-4, 28 pts., 7th)

The day has arrived for my first match. The league has been on an almost three-week break, and this is also technically the last match of the first half of the season. Fiorentina is a good opponent to start with. They finished seventh in Serie A a year ago and are in that same spot right now. I'm eager to get going.

Fiorentina scores first in the 31st, but then left winger Isma Lopez scores the first goal for Genoa under my leadership and we pull even. Early in the second half, Fiorentina takes the lead back, and they tighten things up defensively and they hold us off for a 2-1 win. We didn't play particularly well, especially offensively, and I suffer defeat in my first match as manager.

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Edited by trman73

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January 10, 2018 - Serie A: Genoa (5-7-7, 22 pts., 14th) vs. Palermo (11-2-6, 35 pts., 4th)

The games come fast and furious in January and next up is probably the best story of the 2017-18 season thus far, Palermo. Prior to losing their last match these guys won eight of nine to vault up the table. We've got our work cut out for us here.

We play a much better match today. Neither team breaks through and it ends in a 0-0 draw for my first point as Genoa manager. Not much to say about this one, except that while I don't want to panic after just two games, it does look like I will need to strengthen our forwards as we're just not creating enough chances.

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January 14, 2018 - Serie A: Torino (7-2-11, 23 pts., 15th) vs. Genoa (5-8-7, 23 pts., 14th)

Prior to this match I put a number of players on the transfer list. We have a huge surplus of defenders, and sure enough two bids come in. I really need to shed payroll and give myself some flexibility to bring in my own type of players, so I accept both offers without negotiation.

Our first road match is against a Torino team that's right behind us in the standings. I sub out one of my forwards in hopes of generating a spark in the attack, but leave the rest of the team intact.

We get our asses thoroughly kicked in this game. We fall 4-0, and we saved a PK or else it would have been worse. For the second time in three games I have a central midfielder sent off with a red card, and five minutes later Torino scores to cap off a truly embarrassing match.

This is not the start I'd hoped for in Italy.

We get a break from league play midweek for the Italian Cup Quarterfinal at home against Lazio.

58edb1f9bffa4_ScreenShot2017-04-11at11_49_49PM.thumb.png.7ac17abbf087c72b23db1bb825503ffc.png

 

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January 17, 2018 - Italian Cup Quarterfinal: Genoa vs. Lazio

I need something here. Lazio's having a really nice year and is currently fifth in Serie A. We're really scuffling, and we need a result. I've switched formation to the 4-4-2 this team was playing before I arrived. Let's get back to basics.

We get our first lead of my tenure in the 12th minute, as forward Leonardo Pavoletti puts a soft shot past the Lazio keeper for the 1-0 lead. Right before halftime Lazio has a man sent off with his second yellow, and we'll play the second half with a man advantage. We have a couple of great chances early in the second half but can't capitalize, hitting the crossbar once. Despite not breaking through in the second half we dominate possession (the 59% possession we had in this game has to be a career record for me), and we win it, 1-0. We're on to the semis of the cup, where we'll face Fiorentina. I'm reminded of what a catalyst the Wanderers' run to the Chile Cup was in my first year there, and I'm hoping this will have the same result for Genoa.

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Edited by trman73

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Good job with Wanderers and looking forward to seeing your progress with Genoa. Your recent update makes you look like a cup specialist.

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