They gave us their insights about Copa America Centenaria
The girls that know about soccer
We spoke with Adriana Monsalve and Lindsay Casinelli, the girls from Univision who know about soccer. They are both journalists, specialized in sports, and worked at ESPN, the most important sports network in the United States. For the past four years, they have been the image of the show “Contacto Deportivo” that Univision broadcasts every night. Adriana and Lindsay gave us their opinion about the upcoming Copa America Centenaria that will take place in the United States and will keep us entertained this summer.
Which player are you most excited to see play here in the U.S.?
Adriana: There is a lot of talent in all the national teams of this hemisphere, but the world of soccer revolves around what Leonel Messi does with his feet. And to have him here, playing with the Argentinean national team, is a treat. Many stars will come and many players are show a great playing level, and that is very attractive. But there is no doubt that Messi, at this point in soccer, is still the favorite to watch by the fans.
Lindsay: I want to see Suarez, the Uruguayan. I saw him playing at the World Cup. I see him play every week with the Barcelona team. I get excited because he is a player that can change a game. He is a player that represents a whole national team, and Uruguay is not a national team with many star players, like Argentina. But when “Lucho” is on the field, things change. That is why I like to watch Uruguay play with Luis Suarez.
Which game are you ready to watch during the eliminatory stage?
Adriana: That is a hard question. The duel I would love to see is between Argentina and Brazil, who are the archrivals in the continent. We are all curious to see if either of those teams might take the Copa Centenaria.
Lindsay: For me it would be interesting to see a game between Mexico and Argentina. But I would also like to see a game between Brazil and Uruguay. Those two games sound very attractive, in my opinion.
Which teams would you like to see play the championship game?
Adriana: I would love to see a South American CONMEBOL team face a CONCACAF team (from Central and North America). I believe that is the whole point of the Copa America; to unite the Americas and see how that goes. That way, we could gauge how the level of soccer is quite even throughout the continent. I would love to see Mexico face Argentina, which would be a great game for the fans in the United States. Also, we could see Messi play a championship game, and see if he takes it home.
Lindsay: I agree with Adriana. I would like to see at the championship game, teams from both regions, one from CONMEBOL and one from CONCACAF. But for me, those dream teams would be Mexico and Uruguay.
Which team do you think will be a big surprise in the Copa America Centenaria?
Adriana: I don’t know if ‘surprise’ is the right term in this tournament, because all teams have a good level of playing. A good performance by Argentina, Brazil and Mexico would not be a surprise for anyone. I think the black horse might be a team like Panama, with Bolillo Gomez. They are recovering the level they had before the World Cup last year. Another team to watch is Ecuador, who is putting together a team that seeks to lead. They might bring a surprise with players that are playing at the European leagues and Mexico.
Lindsay: I believe Colombia might be a surprise, even though they are not doing so good at the moment. They might be a candidate to take the Cup. And, as Adriana said, Ecuador is doing very good right now, even after losing their most recent game. In this tournament, the teams are all very competitive. It would be a surprise if Venezuela wins, which I don’t think is even possible. Any other team might win.
Which rookie should we follow during this tournament?
Adriana: There are lots of talented young players coming to the Copa America. The Venezuelan team, even though they are going through a rough patch, has very good players. Christian Santos has scored 15 goals in Holland. Adalberto Peñaranda and Juan Pablo Añor, Juanpi, are forging their career in the Spanish soccer. These are unknown players with a great game, and if their national teams are calling them, we should follow up on their performance.
Lindsay: Colombia has a player that people is not talking too much about. He plays with Monterrey and his name is Edwin Cardona. He might be a key piece for the Colombian team if he can work with Cuadrado and James. Other players that might be a surprise, if they are called, are Jesús Manuel Corona and Hirving Lozano. They are new players, they don’t have the profile to be a star, but they might be decisive.
This tournament has United States and Mexico as home teams. How can the audience help these two teams?
Adriana: No doubt that Mexico will be local at every venue played during this tournament. That is important. Juan Carlos Osorio is adjusting well to the national team. He has included players who are at a good point in their careers, and he is using them well. He is making them play the same positions they play at their international teams. Having this preparation, and coming to play as a local, will give them a good emotional boost.
Meanwhile, the U.S. didn’t have a good Copa Oro in 2015. And, up until last playoffs, before defeating Guatemala, they were not even in the final six. The work of Jurgen Klinsmann, head coach for the star spangled banner team, is not visible. He has created different line ups. His team is not coming together yet. The need of a player who leads is visible, since Donovan left. In this situation, the audience can’t really help much.
Lindsay: We’ve seen the importance of playing as a local. But this time, not only the U.S. and Mexican teams are playing as locals. All teams will have the support of their nationals. Colombians, Argentineans, Brazilians, and all teams from Central America will travel to the different venues to support their teams at the group phase.
Chicharito decided to come to the Copa America, but Neymar is going to the Olympic games. Do you think the Brazilian player made a mistake?
Adriana: Neymar’s decision has something to do with the fact that Brazil has never won in the Olympic games. And after the beating they took against Germany in 2014, I suppose Brazil wants to show face and try to take the Olympic title. Barcelona will only lend him for one tournament. However, this edition of Copa America is very important. It only happens every one hundred years and it will crown the best team in America.
Lindsay: If I was to choose, I would go to the tournament with the biggest players, and that is the Copa America Centenaria. But that decision depends on the player.
What is the relevance of Copa America Centenaria taking place in the U.S.?
Adriana: I will respond with the words of Pibe Valderrama, during the Copa America draw. This is America’s world cup. We will be immersed in soccer in 12 different cities of the United States. A high quality sport show will take place for the residents of this country who love soccer. Enthusiasm will be so great that they will have to repeat it every four years.
Lindsay: It will be wonderful. Like another 1994 World Cup. Soccer is growing in this country. Having the best players here is a joy and a big satisfaction for those of us who love soccer. And for those who are beginning to get hooked on soccer, it is just perfect. National team soccer generates a lot of emotions. I fell in love with the sport watching the 1994 World Cup.
Does being a soccer fan gets you in trouble at home?
Adriana: No. My husband and I cheer the same team. We only have differences when we talk about baseball.
Lindsay: I don’t have problems at home either. We are all fans of “la zurra”. We have the same idols. We love soccer and we watch every world cup. And living in this country, we have a special affection for the teams of Mexico and the United States.