Sunday, September 25

The Mérida takes its first steps

Mérida’s first eleven in the preseason, on Friday night at Don Álvaro. / MERIDA AD

Juanma Barrero’s men debut in Don Álvaro and Arroyo de San Serván with their first friendlies of the preseason


At the time of closing this edition, Mérida was hurrying the last minutes –with the result of 1-4– of their second friendly of the preseason, last night in Arroyo de San Serván. The day before, at Don Álvaro, Juanma Barrero’s team debuted with a 1-2 win. Two rivals from a lower category, the first from the Third Federation and the second from Regional, to end the first week of training and begin to outline the first concepts of the new plan more seriously.

“We like to come to Don Álvaro because the games here are competitive,” explained Juanma Barrero of his hometown team on Friday night. «We wanted to have rhythm and we have seen positive and also negative things that we will have to correct. But this time is to pick up habits and ideas. And sometimes it comes out… and sometimes it doesn’t». Mérida attended its first two appointments with few sessions in the legs and a team yet to be defined, between the last signings signed and the first casualties due to physical discomfort: Álvaro Ramón, Goma, Llácer… Opposite, however, were two fewer teams still rolled. Carlos Pizarro’s team, for example, only had two training sessions. And well they stood up to the people of Mérida.

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But the most striking thing about these first two friendlies, apart from the debut of Mérida’s pre-season jersey, was the people’s desire for football. The stands were practically full to see two serious training sessions, both from the local fans and from the displaced Romans.

Focusing on Friday’s test, the Mérida was superior, but the Don Álvaro knew how to defend itself. Those of Juanma Barrero won because they are better, but without fanfare. The Blue and White defenders and goalkeeper were very successful. The clash served so that the followers who traveled the little more than 10 kilometers that separate both towns could see several of the new players: Erik Ruiz, Kamal, Fer Harta, Viñuela, Sandoval, Luis Acosta, Meléndez, Garay and Carlos Cinta, in addition to other players from the subsidiary, who became familiar with what Juanma Barrero wants from them.

The unappetizing first part ended as it began. In the second, the first step was taken by Don Álvaro, who broke the ice with Monterrey’s goal. It only took a minute for the visitors to equalize thanks to a goal from Carlos Cinta, who is hell-bent on proving his worth for this team. Minutes later the winning goal would come, the work of debutant Sandoval.

The next thing will be to climb a ladder in the thermometer of demand: it is time to visit San Roque, from the Second RFEF, on Saturday, July 30, in Lepe.

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