This is the second part of my preview for the start of the second semester in Colombia tonight. After I mentioned the favorite teams in the first part, this part includes the smaller teams, the ones which will try to battle for a spot in the playoff or not to relegate. Usually each tournament we have at least one Cinderella, maybe it’ll be one of these teams.
Transfers in: Diego Peralta (Atlético Bucaramanga), Robin Ramírez (Atlético Rafaela-ARG), John Caicedo (Bogota FC), Marcos Aguirre (Nueva Chicago-ARG), Juan Pablo Ramirez (Nacional), John Valencia (Alianza Atletico-PER), Brayan Lucumi (Tigres-MEX)
Transfers out: Daniel Cataño (Medellín), Christian Rivera (Cali), Yamilson Rivera (Santa Fe), Santiago Tréllez (Vitoria-BRA), Víctor Cantillo (Junior), Jorge de Oliveira, Dayron Benavides, Daniel Angulo (Sportivo Alagoano-BRA), Sebastian Fernandez
Pasto did very well last semester, finished 3rd in the first phase but lost in the quarter final of the playoff. Unfortunately to them, most of their key players left the club during the break, including scorers Yamilson Rivera and Santiago Trellez. They did manage to bring some talented players like Lucumi, and Nacional’s wonder kid, Juan Ramirez. The main guy up front will be Robin Ramirez, who already had wonderful time at Tolima & Deportivo Cali. Pasto still has the squad to take the playoff spot, but it won’t be easy.
Robin Ramirez returns to another period in the Colombia league, this time with Pasto
La Equidad Seguros
Transfers in: Luis Fernando Suárez (Coach), Cristian Bonilla (Atlético Nacional), Francisco Nájera (Atlético Nacional), William Parra (Independiente Medellín), Mauricio Cortés (Independiente Medellín).
Transfers out: Arturo Boyacá (Coach), Oliver Fula (Envigado), Ulises Tavares (Patriotas) , Yessy Mena (Huila), Leandro Gelpi
La Equidad was a regular member in the playoff few years ago, even reached three times to the final, but in the last years they can’t repeat the success. Last semester they had good team on paper, yet it still wasn’t enough to qualify. The team is ahead of relegation zone by 13 points, but they cannot count on this fact only and needs to gain as many points as they can if they don’t want to get into trouble 10 years after they promoted for the first time ever to the first division. The team loaned talented goalkeeper, Cristian Bonilla, from Nacional and he came with another champ ex, experienced center back, Pacho Najera. Along with talented strikers such as Cortes and Parra, and with an experienced coach like Luis Fernando Suarez, it may be their tournament.
La Equidad’s new reinforcements. From Left: Parra, Cortes, Bonilla & Najera
Envigado Futbol Club
Transfers in: Gerardo Jiménez Reyes (Torre Levante Orriols-ESP), Oliver Fula (La Equidad), Jorge Betancur (Huila), Yosimar Quiñones (Huila).
Transfers out: Jefferson Gómez (Junior), Yuber Asprilla (Alianza Petrolera), Brayan Rovira (Bucaramanga), Jorge Segura (Watford-ING), Diego Gregori, Andres Orozco, Juan Ramon Garcia
Envigado is one of the most enjoyable team to watch. Why is that? Not because of their football, but for the fact that they always have almost the youngest team in the league. They are famous with their wonderful youth department which raised among others players like James Rodriguez, Fredy Guarin and Juan Fernando Quintero. Envigado most of the time doesn’t qualify to the playoff but on the other hand, they have enough points so they won’t get into relegation problems. The playoff once again will be the main target and, of course, to give a chance to their talented youth.
Transfers in: Néstor Craviotto (Coach), Leonardo Lázaro (Unión Magdalena), Carlos Ramírez (Alianza Petrolera), Andrés Felipe Correa (Junior), José Leudo, Yessy Mena (La Equidad), Víctor Castillo (Tolima)
Transfers out: Jorge Vivaldo (Coach), Emiliano Méndez, Nelson Lemus, Miguel Murillo, Jorge Betancur (Envigado), Elieser Quiñones, Ricardo Villarraga, Yair Arboleda, Yosimar Quiñones (Envigado), Eduard Gutierrez (died), Claudio Rubiano, Weiner Riascos (San Luis-CHI), Harold Romaña, Cristian Canga (Pereira), Jackson Palacio
Huila couldn’t make it to the playoff last semester, so this will be the main target this semester along with gain as many points as they can although they are 14 points ahead of the relegation spot. Nestor Craviotto will be the coach and the club signed several good players like Andres Correa, Victor Castillo and striker Yessy Mena. Huila had a difficult semester when they needed to deal with a sudden death of one of the players – Eduard Gutierrez – who was died in a car accident. Villarraga, Canga and Lemus are among the important players who won’t continue in the club.
Transfers in: Víctor Zapata (Alianza Atlético-Perú), Pablo Rojas (Bucaramanga), Alexis Hinestroza (Millonarios), Sebastian Villota (Oriente Petrolero-BOL), Jorge Katime (Atletico Pinto-SPA)
Transfers out: Julio Cesar Ortiz, Diego Cuadros, Jonathan Acosta, Harold Rivera (Rionegro), Carlos Rivas (Correcaminos-MEX), Jhoaho Hinestroza (Tigres), Jonathan Agudelo
Jaguares was the lovely surprise of last semester when this small club managed to qualify to the playoff vs. Atletico Nacional and even to be a tough rival for the champ. Despite all, their main target is to stay in the first division and they need to gain points since they are only two points above America Cali, who is in the relegation zone. Jaguares lost good players like Carlos Rivas, Harold Rivera and Jhoaho Hinestroza, but brought Victor Zapata, Alexis Hinestroza and talented midfielder, Sebastian Villota. It’s hard to see them make it to the playoff again, but if they will stay in the league five months from now, they will be extremely happy.
Transfers in: Fabio Rodríguez (Rionegro Águilas), Lewis Ochoa (Junior), Jhonatan Estrada (Junior), José Ricardo Cortés (Club Real América), Sergio Romero (Once Caldas), Brayan Rovira (Envigado), Juan Manuel Sánchez, Alex Diaz (La Equidad), artin Gonzalez (Boston River-URU)
Transfers out: Pablo Rojas (Jaguares), Jhon Fredy Pajoy (Santa Fe), Christian Mafla (Nacional), Carlos Valencia (Medellin), Diego Peralta (Pasto), Miller Mosquera, Davinson Monsalve, Nicolas Palacios (Petrolera), Jossymar Gomez, Adalberto Gonzalez, Yeison Mena, Alcides Peña (Oriente Petrolero-BOL), Faider Burbano
Bucaramanga had a good season, while they managed to enter the playoff in the last fixture, but lost to Millonarios in the quarter final. The team made a lot of changes regarding players who came and left. Right back Lewis Ochoa and one of the best left back, Fabio rodriguez, joined the club, along with talented midfielder, Brayan Rovira, attacking midfielder, Jonathan Estrada and striker Sergio Romero. On the other hand, Bucaramanga talented defender, Cristian Mafla, veteran center back, Diego Peralta and the duo strikers, Fredy Pajoy and Faider Burbano. Bucaramanga still didn’t secure another year in the first division yet, but they have good enough team to make it to the playoffs once again.
Transfers in: Néstor Otero (Coach), Cristian Borja (Santa Fe), Lucas Alves da Cunha (Anápolis-BRA), Giovanny Martínez (Sport Huancayo-PER), Vinicius de Paiva (Amparo-BRA), Wanderson Ferreira dos Santos (Pelotas-BRA), Jimmy Valoyes (Aguila-SAL), Jhonnier Viveros (Independiente Medellin), Carlos Ibarguen (Independiente Medellin)
Transfers out: Jaime de la Pava (Coach), Jaiber Cardona, Mauricio Duarte, Jonis Lopez, Eduar Caicedo (Tolima), Harrison Mojica, Kelvin Osorio, Jean Carlos Becerra, Duvan Ramirez, Yeison Correa, Alejandro Pañaranda, Joao Rodriguez
Cortulua will start the second semester where they are in a tough situation. Most of the player left the club due to end of loan or contract, while the team is only one point above America Cali in the relegation zone. Coach de la Pava left and veteran Nestor Otero came instead. Cortulua didn’t bring such significant reinforces and will have to earn as many points as they can in order to avoid relegation.
Transfers in: Harold Rivera (Jaguares), Charles Monsalvo (America Cali), ohn Jairo Palacios (Real Potosi-BOL)
Transfers out: Fabio Rodtiguez (Bucaramanga), John Valencia (Popayan), Juan Esteban Ortiz, Alexander Sanchez, Roque Caballero (Sportivo Trinidense-PAR)
Rionegro Aguilas changed their names several times since they promoted to the first division in 2010. They played as Itagui, Pereira and now they are representing Rionegro. This team usually moves between playoff tournaments and tournaments where they finished in the middle and lower. And this is their situation in the average table. They are not in a danger to relegate, so their main focus will be to qualify to the playoff, although on paper, it doesn’t seem that the team is good enough to qualify. The veteran left back, Fabio Rodriguez, one of the symbol of this team, left for the first time after 7 years, this is the main change of this team.
Transfers in: Daniel Briceño (Deportivo Lara-VEN), Yuber Asprilla (Envigado), Yorleys Mena (América), Nicolás Angellotti (Deoirtivo Moron-ARG), Nicolas Palacios (Bucaramanga), Jonathan Alvarez (America Cali), Manuel Palacios, Geimer Balanta (America Cali)
Transfers out: Mauro Bustamante (Liga de Portoviejo-ECU), Eder Chaux, Carlos Ramírez (Huila), Carlos Lizarazo (América), Ricardo Jerez (Cali), Alex Stik Castro (Cali), Clemente Palacios, Gustavo Bolivar, Yainer Acevedo (Cartagena)
Petrolera couldn’t repeat their success one tournament ago and didn’t qualify to the playoff. Luckily for them, they have enough points in order to secure another year in the first division, despite some key players who left, the most important between them is the goalkeeper and captain, Ricardo Jerez, one of the best keepers in the league. Another good player who left is midfielder Carlos Lizarazo who will join America. Jerez’s replacement will be the Argentine Nicolas Angellotti, while Lizarazo will be replaced by Jonathan Alvarez and Petrolera will count on Cesar Arias and Yorelys Mena up front.
Ricardo Jerez left Petrolera after 4 years
Tigres Futbol Club
Transfers in: Jerson Malagón (Orsomarso), Edward Montaño (Cucuta), Norbey Salazar (Llaneros), Daniel Torres (Millonarios), Jhoaho Rivelino Hinestroza (Jaguares), Omer Escalante (Bogota FC), Carlos Rua (Llaneros)
Transfers out: Óscar Saráz, Elkin Barrera, David Uribe, Omar Rodríguez, Carlos Mosquera, Anuar Hurtado, Jhonny Rivera, Ethan González (Barranquilla FC), Yuberney Franco (Deportivo Capiata-PAR), Wilson Carpintero (Quindio)
Tigres is the team in the most difficult situation. In fact, they will need some kind of miracle in order to survive. Tigres promoted last semester to the first division for the first time and didn’t impress. Now they occupy the last place in the average table, 11 points below the place which secure them another season. In simple math, only an amazing tournament will help them to continue in the first division, but their team is just not good enough and most likely the worst between all 20 teams. It’ll be a huge shock if they won’t relegate at the end of the season.