Aguila 1, Bolivar 0
It took less than five minutes for the action to heat up on the field and in the stands last night as Aguila of El Salvador took on Bolivian first division champion Bolivar in an exhibition before a throng of enthusiastic fans at RFK Stadium.
In the end it was the orange- and black-clad supporters of Aguila that were left cheering as they celebrated their team's 1-0 victory.
"Bolivar is an excellent organization," said Aguila Coach Julio Cesar Cortes through an interpreter. "It was a good match for us because it gives us a good test to see what I have on my squad."
Former D.C. United star Marco Etcheverry, who played for Bolivar prior to coming to United, arranged the exhibition and watched the action from above the field.
After a few faulty touches on both sides to open the game, the teams settled into distinctly separate offensive rhythms. Bolivar was the more patient team, trying to work the ball around the perimeter before finding creases to attack the goal.
Aguila used the speed of its forwards and a swift counterattacking style to push the ball downfield.
Bolivar had the better opportunities early and should have taken the lead in the 13th minute when the ball deflected off Aguila goalie Misael Alfaro to Bolivar midfielder Pedro Guiberguis standing alone at the top of the six-yard box. His one-time volley toward an open net banged off the right post, bringing groans from the Bolivar supporters.
Aguila took control of the action from that point, getting slashing runs through the Bolivar defense from forward Freddy Vichez and defender Fabio Acevedo.
The hard work paid off in the 33rd minute. Acevedo beat his defender down the right sideline before sending the ball across the field to midfielder Djimy Vargas, who one-timed the ball past Bolivar goalie Mauro Machado, setting off a raucous celebration in the stands.
"We still have a lot of work to do," said Cortes, the former Guatemalan national coach who was making his debut behind the bench for Aguila. "Right now we're only in the preseason, but I like what I saw from the team tonight."
The second half was played at a much slower pace as the Aguila attack slowed and Bolivar's gradually quickened.
Bolivar had a number of chances to equalize in the final 20 minutes of play. Forward Horacio Chiorazzo had the most opportunities, the best coming in the 70th minute when he collected a pass at the penalty spot, turned and sent a shot just wide of Aguila goalkeeper Sergio Munoz, who had come on in the 61st minute.