Let's get this straight off the bat, shall we: The Primavera should walk through Catania on the way to the final. On paper, this isn't even a contest. This is reminiscent of the opening legs against Torino when Roma was down 3-1 on aggregate after 135 minutes then spent 3/4 of an hour steamrolling the Granata til they were well and pavement.
So does this first leg matter? Sure. Does it really matter? No. This is why I just can't get stoked for Coppa first legs until the whistle blows for the start. At that point it becomes a Roma game, beforehand it simply becomes "ooh, who's Spal starting and can we see some @#$%ing Adrian Pit FOR THE LOVE OF GOD".
So that's that until the lineups come out. And since this is all it's about right now, here's your blown up preview, aka The Coppa Edition.
Dudes Who Must NOT Play.
Totti: I reach out to my Roman brethren here. If you see Francesco making his way into the Stadio Olimpico tomorrow, kidnap him, bring him to a nice restaurant or something (you know, Olive Garden or the like), but whatever you do it is imperative that he is allowed nowhere near the field. This is just below "breathing" and just above "not contracting AIDS" on the list of "shit that just has to be done". (If you could manage to breathe and keep Totti away from the game all at the same time, kidnapping the superduperstar would vault above both of those. Alas, I'm pretty sure it's not possible, ergo.....breathe, then kidnap. What you do after that is of no concern to me. Breathe, don't breathe...whatever.)
Juan: Dude got hurt in warm ups on Sunday. Warm ups. Does anyone else think putting him on the pitch is like walking nude into a bear's den lathered up in A1 sauce? I do. Therefore, I'm passively protesting by not eating breakfast until after the game halftime.
Dudes Who Must Play
iTunes: It's really simple, this is an audition to be part of a Juan Manuel Vargas* deal. Failed to process in my brain yesterday (one of many), but this is a great time to rest Max who is entering the "tapioca pudding" stage of his career, seemingly (or maybe that's just his hair), plus promote a price dropper downer (that's a real phrase) all at the same time. Start or sub, he should play some serious minutes.
* - JMV is out for the game. This is simply so he can take his medical during the game allowing him to sign immediately after the mercato opens, and don't believe any other BS you hear.
Amantino: Speaking of dudes who need to audition for a transfer fee........kidding. I think. Actually, it may be close to the truth. But this is a good "get back into form game" with the chance to run at a less-than-stellar back line. And I'm feeling a huge game from him. Atta boy.
Espo: I know it's not a game against ManPoo, but he's still alright to play against the calcio variety, isn't he? And quite frankly, I'd just love to see this kid score a goal in Giallorosso before his inevitable departure in the summer...south? Napoli a foregone conclusion yet? I might just go ahead and throw a few bucks on Genoa for reasons I can't really explain. Watch out, that's about to become a recurring theme......
Some Random Thing I Decided To Throw In For Unknown Reasons
Totally random, but I just saw a Brinks Home Security commercial on and I had a quick idea for any ad gurus in the house. You know how the Brinks guy calls after the alarm sounds instead of dispatching someone ASAP? (If you don't click on that 0:30 second commercial in the BHS link.) Somebody needs to make a Brinks - Verizon Wireless combo meal commercial where a robber breaks into a home and doesn't give a fuck all about the alarm. Lady of the house tries to pick up, he puts his hand over her mouth. BHS operator says "hello" with no response, then starts asking "can you hear me now?....can you hear me now?....can you hear me now?" while said robber pummels said lady of the house senselessly.
I'm sure this has been done before, but I just felt the need to get that down.
Dude That Shouldn't Play, But Probably Have To For Lack Of Options
Vuci: Guy's been massive on two fronts this season, filling in often, unfortunately, for a felled Totti and now leapfrogging Mancini at the left wing position when Roma could use some consistent production and goal scoring from someone not name Jesus. With Francesco's injuries, his injury (lower back) and the Coppa run being in back-to-back weeks, he could really use a rest. Unfortunately, unless Francesco starts, he most likely won't. Probably means a goal. Ah fiddlesticks.
Dudes Who Is Out
DDR: Thank Christ, that is all.
Alberto Aquilani: Still nursing that injury. Has anyone built a bubble for this kid to live in yet? At this rate he's going to miss the opening of the 2008-09 season with SARS. (So did anyone else enjoy chronic bronchitis during the SARS outbreak? That was fun.)
Marco Cassetti: Still nursing that pitching shoulder so he's at home. Unfortunate, I love watching him with a chance to flash that attacking ability in games like these. Cicinho who?
Doni: Had a minor knock after the Udinese game or something, I recall hearing. Finally, Gianluca Curci gets a shot between the pipes and he may very well be the only Roman representative on the pitch. In fact, that may be precisely why he's left out. Off the top of my head, Genoa away the only game sans-Romans? Yeah? Can't have that shit again. Forza Curci. Pretty please.
The Swiss Miss
Daniel Unal: Only Primavera lad called up, and that's quite the honor considering Claudio Della Penna appeared to be Spal's favorite cup of joe (different positions, yeah yeah yeah). Still know nothing about him, so I'll just cut & paste the paragraph from his first call, which resulted in a whole lot of squadoosh:
The Swiss Superstud. Technically on loan from Bellinzona for the year with an option to buy, but knowing the relationship between the two teams, I’d suspect it’s just a formality when he’s brought over. Roma beat Juve and Milan to his signature, which has been around for 17 years (everybody ready to feel old? Daniel’s a 90’s baby. I’m 23 and even I feel old). Supposed to be a more well-rounded version of David Pizarro….this is the part where everybody weeps gentle tears of joy….and was captain of the Swiss U-17 squad before moving up the U-19’s recently. Having never seen the kid play (despite trying furiously), it’s hard to judge what kind of opportunities he’ll be given, if any, but I would sure like to see what he looks like in Pizarro’s spot for a half hour or so. Out of any of the three called up, this is the one I’d like to keep an eye on the most.
The other two who had been called up for Toro were CDP and Doni's little brother, who obviously got the other half of the brain the two split. As if one error-prone Brazilian wasn't enough, they signed his brother for shits & giggles as well. Sometimes....................
1 GIANLUCA CURCI
2 CHRISTIAN PANUCCI
3 CICERO JOAO DE CEZARE (CICINHO)
4 JUAN SILVEIRA DOS SANTOS
5 PHILIPPE MEXES
7 DAVID MARCELO CORTES PIZARRO
9 MIRKO VUCINIC
10 FRANCESCO TOTTI
11 RODRIGO FERRANTE TADDEI
14 LUDOVIC GIULY
15 VITORINO GABRIEL PACHECO ANTUNES
18 MAURO ESPOSITO
20 SIMONE PERROTTA
22 MAX TONETTO
25 CARLO ZOTTI
27 JULIO SERGIO BERTAGNOLI
30 MANCINI ALESSANDRO FAIOLHE AMANTINO
33 MATTEO BRIGHI
38 UNAL DANIEL
My Hopeful XI
Here's what I wanna see:
Cicinho, OMR/GOM, Sexy Mexy, iTunes;
Espo, Ludovicious, Amantino;
Who loves defense?
Now I haven't the foggiest as to what we'll actually see. Find out tomorrow and that's that.
Skipping (Coppa Edition)
Remember this from last Sunday?
I've picked a draw one other time this season, and Roma won rather convincingly. Here's hoping.
Guess what? We're sticking with what works.
Goals: Martinez (11), Amantino (19), Martinez (47), Cicinho (61)
Mancini Give-A-Shit Factor: 9.7 (Also known as "I'm Playing For A Contract" Factor)
When: 1800 CET, 1200 EST
Where: Stadio olimpico
Forecast: 16°C, 70% chance of the sprinklies.
Liveblog: Think so.