Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Manchester United Remains Undefeated at Old Trafford when Antonio Valencia Scores

Manchester United's midfielder from Ecuador, Antonio Valencia, showed his professionalism and skills off Saturday at Old Trafford by scoring the first goal in a 2-0 win over Swansea City.

After a scoreless first half while playing without stars Robin Van Persie and Wayne Rooney and their team stuck in the middle of the pack in the EPL standings, there were lingering doubts for fans of the Red Devils.

The goal broke the tension for more than 75,000 people watching live and many more fans watching on Tv.

According to Arlo White and his broadcast, when Valencia scores in games at home for Man U., they have never lost or tied.

As I've mentioned before, my wife is from Ecuador and I have residency there.  I lived there for a while in 2004-05.  While there during that time I remember watching a young 19 year-old Valencia play live at Estadio Atahualpa in Quito on a few occasions.

With Premier League matches so much easier to find on Tv now and because Man U. is featured most often of all the clubs, I have begun to watch Valencia more closely.

He's been playing for Man U. since 2009 and has recorded 19 goals and 38 assists for them in all combined competitions.

I enjoy Antonio's stoic attitude on the field.  He doesn't celebrate excessively when he or his team scores a goal.  After a goal scored by a teammate, he won't typically join in on the goal celebration and instead retreats quickly back to midfield.

He's an elegant player and an excellent example of sportsmanship on the field.

When I saw him play in 2005 for club 'El Nacional' (this club only carries players from Ecuador) in Ecuador's first division, it wasn't just him that got my attention.  Several young players on that Nacional team had all-star talent and would later go on to play in the knockout round of World Cup 2006 (losing to England, 1-0, on a direct kick set play by David Beckham) and get signed by other prominent world clubs.

Unfortunately, two of those great teammates of Valencia's have passed away.

Christian Benitez, aka Chucho, died suddenly in 2013 from complications of his abdomen and heart in Doha, Qatar.  He had just got there as a new member of a local Qatar club team.  Before Qatar, Chucho played for Birmingham City in England and won championships with Club America in Mexico.

Otilino Tenorio, aka-Spiderman, died in May of 2005 in an automobile accident.  At the time, he was on top of the leaderboard for goals scored for all teams in Ecuador's first divsion.  He had played for Al-Nasr in Saudi Arabia.

After several seasons playing for excellent Ecuadorian clubs, Segundo Castillo played for Pachuca and Puebla and Jorge Guagua played for Atlante, all of Mexico's first division.

Felix Borja played for Olympiacos of Greece's first division before later joining clubs Pachuca and Puebla.

That 2005 Nacional team has to be regarded as one of Ecuador's greatest club teams of all-time. Eight years later, Valencia, Castillo, Guagua and Benitez until his death appeared regularly in Ecuador's qualifiers for the 2014 World Cup.

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