Welcome back to On the Break! Click HERE if you haven’t seen the last post in the series, where we concluded the 2026 season. Redemption was the key word last year, getting back to where we had been since the save started; now we need to try and kick on again.
Don’t get me wrong, having high potential strikers coming through the youth intake every season is never going to be a problem. Many would fume at the idea of me complaining about it, but sooner or later, I need some players to come through in other positions! We have had one, defensive midfielder Diego Cáceres looks promising but has a lot of work to do, on his physicality especially. Juan Olivera looks like he could have a good future and is the coach’s pick, but Maximiliano Quintana could be something special – he’s already a pretty handy player and he’s a Model Citizen!
A Steve Harvey GIF seems an appropriate way to greet a 15 year old Model Citizen!
In the last post I mentioned that we had agreed pre-contract deals with some exciting players, and now that they’ve joined the club I can show them off! This is without a doubt the best transfer window I’ve had in the save so far, not all the players are ready for the first team yet but they all have good potential and were free, while we also made some money by having youngsters approached by other clubs again. Keeping Ramiro Centurión is also huge, I’ve promised him we’ll sell if somebody matches his £10m release clause (not sure why that’s a promise when we don’t have a choice, but oh well!) and that money will be huge for the club as and when it comes, but if he can help us to a title before that then all the better!
I’ve put them in order of the impact I see them having, starting with Anthony Ibarra who is far more of a replacement for Valenzuela than Hércules is. Despite not having brilliant attributes for the role Ibarra is playing as the Raumdeuter out on the right hand side and his pace and off the ball are handy to get him into positions where he’ll score more than he’ll miss.
Osvaldo Flores is an excellent pick-up, a very creative young midfielder who is already being tracked by the Uruguay manager. He’ll compete with Cristian Schneider for a place in the side as Mezzala, which essentially ends Luciano Boggio’s spell as a first team regular.
The rest are less exciting, squad fillers with good potential. Luiz Henrique and Franco Prado are likely to play a few games as and when necessary. Sergio Meneses is probably a better option than Henrique at this point, but due to being a foreign player is less likely to get into the side due to restrictions. I’ll look to get him a loan deal if I can, as he’s too good to only be playing reserves football really. Rogelio Guzmán is a bit unfortunate really, he was signed as he’s a better backup than Santiago Mernies and he does have good potential, but Alejandro Cauteruccio is far more likely to replace Santiago Mele when that time comes. He may end up being nothing but the permanent second/third choice, but hopefully he’ll earn a chance to play on occasion.
We made it back to the Uruguayan Super Cup this year, for just the second time in the save. No prizes for guessing who we faced… Nacional, of course!
The game was fairly even, for the first time we were truly able to impose our passing game on Nacional, but they created the better of the chances when they did have the ball. We took the lead through Ramiro Centurión after just 10 minutes, and we looked comfortable until we were pegged back by Alfonso Trezza on the half hour mark. The second half was a bit of a non-event, and 1-1 was the way it stayed as we hit full-time.
Extra-time came and went and despite a couple of half chances there were no further goals, so penalties would decide the contest. We’ve faced Nacional in penalty shootouts twice before, and has as much luck as England at a World Cup! Our penalty takers have improved a bit since then, but I was still nervous.
I didn’t need to be, for the first time in the save we not only win a penalty shootout, but win some silverware!
URUGUAYAN SUPER CUP CHAMPIONS 2027!
The rest of pre-season was fairly straight forward, barring the shock defeat to Sacachispas. Ibarra looked good upon arrival, as did Nahuel Paiva after returning from his loan at Wanderers. Centurión looked in good form too, surely a good sign for the season ahead.
Goals?! From strikers?! Say it ain’t so. The main problem we had last season was an appalling lack of input from our front men, so to see Solís, Centurión, Colman and Paiva all contribute in the first 7 games. I was actually a touch disappointed with our start, despite being unbeaten. Trying to consistently best Nacional and Peñarol is like trying to take on two PSG’s so we need to be perfect, and Wanderers and Plaza Colonia are sides we should be beating.
Why can’t we beat Cerrito? Six meetings now, 4 defeats and 2 draws. I’ve never had a bogey team this bad! The obvious highlight was the win over Nacional, but this was offset by the defeat against Peñarol, who are running away with things incidentally. Ourselves and Nacional have been very good, but Peñarol have been near perfect – see what I mean about two PSG’s!
Eight points is a huge gap considering we haven’t really struggled. Sure, we’ve drawn some winnable games, but it’s still unrealistic to expect that not to happen at this point. We’re in the mix with two sides who spend at least £4.5m a year more than us on player wages, and only just over a season into a new tactical approach, so I have to remain patient and be pleased with how we’re doing.
Ah Libertadores qualifying, my first love. We haven’t been here for two years, having made the Group Stages outright in 2025 and having to settle for the Sudamericana in 2026. I felt confident, if anything we’ve been more of a cup side than a league side in the last couple of years, but there were some great sides in the draw.
First up were Venezuelan side Caracas, who by my estimations were a pretty even match for us. I was confident we had what it took, and although the first leg was a close affair the three away goals gave me plenty to be happy about. The second leg was insane; we took the lead just before half time to give us a 4-2 aggregate lead, which then extended to 6-2 with two goals in the last 10 minutes. Just as my mind started to wander towards the next round, BAM, two late Caracas goals to give me something to think about going forward – against better sides we could suffer if we assume the job is done.
Oh boy, São Paulo and Palmeiras were the two biggest sides left in this round, so of course we faced one of them. We ran São Paulo close back in 2025 in the Libertadores Group Stage which gave me a bit of hope, we’re a much better side since then. Still, it wasn’t going to be easy, and qualification to the groups was the minimum expectation from the board…
Umm… didn’t see that coming! We actually didn’t keep the ball as well as we usually do, not surprising considering the quality São Paulo possess, but we were absolutely rampant; we made a tonne of chances and put the tie to bed in the first leg. Well, we know that now, but I was taking nothing for granted. They have more talented players than us, and if we could do it to them, then they could do it to us. We still played the strongest side available to us in the second leg and secured an excellent away draw.
With that, we were into the Group Stages after a year’s absence. Although we were very impressive against São Paulo, there were still plenty of huge sides in the competition and we were in for a very tough draw.
The obvious stand out is Newell’s Old Boys, one of Argentina and indeed South America’s finest sides. I don’t know much of the other sides, I’ll be honest, but Atlético Nacional finished second last year in Colombia, a league with a higher reputation than our own. Bolivian side Oriente Petrolero were a complete unknown, but seem to have facilities and budget on a par with our own. I’d put us in a battle with Atlético to finish second in the group behind Newell’s, but I’d also say we’re the underdogs in that fight. Oriente may surprise me, but I think they’re favourites for the wooden spoon.
We’re really quite good in continental competition.
Staying unbeaten is an incredible achievement, even if we couldn’t quite manage a victory over Newell’s. It should have been the away game ironically, we went 2-0 up inside 9 minutes, but we couldn’t quite see it out and they equalised on 89 minutes. Poor old Oriente had a rough old time of it, their first two games were a 7-0 defeat to Newell’s and an 8-0 defeat to us, although they did tighten up a bit after that and even managed a victory over Atlético. Although the 8-0 sticks out, I actually think our best performance came in the final group game. A 5-1 win away in Colombia with a relatively rotated side was outstanding, epitomised by Christian Colman’s hat-trick.
Next up is the knockouts, and Brazilian side Vitória, last year’s Copa Sudamericana winners. It’s going to be tough, but based on some of our results in the past couple of campaigns, I fancy us against anyone over two legs.
That’s it for this post, another strong start, but we really need to kick on now and try to close that gap. Still, silverware, who can complain…. right?!
Let me know what you think down in the comments or over on Twitter @adam_otbfm, maybe your favourite signing?
Thanks for reading.