Pictured: The Copa Sudamericana trophy. LDU Quito and Universidad de Chile will be fighting for that trophy as they face off in the first leg of the 2011 Copa Sudamericana Final on Thursday, December 8, 2011.
LDU Quito host Universidad de Chile in the first leg of the Copa Sudamericana Final on Thursday
The final of the 2011 Copa Sudamericana is here, and just like the Copa Libertadores and CONCACAF Champions League, the competition does not commence with a big one-off final at a neutral site. Instead, LDU Quito of Ecuador and Universidad de Chile of Chile will play a home and away, aggregate score tie. The away goals rule was applied to all previous rounds of the competition, but does not apply to the final.
Both teams were fantastic in their runs to the finals, defeating their semifinal opponents easily. They were no pushovers either, as La U downed Brasileirao runners-up Vasco da Gama, while LDU Quito defeated Argentinian champions and Copa Libertadores semifinalists Velez Sarsfield.
Whether or not it's true, you're likely to see in the English tabloids and rumor sites tomorrow that scouts from the "Sky Six" were on hand to watch Eduardo Vargas, the Chilean international forward who stars for La U. He's likely to start in a wide right position, often cutting into the center. He's rumored to be coveted by a number of big sides in Europe and will be worth keeping an eye on throughout the first leg. Vargas has eight goals in Copa Sudamericana this season and another eight domestically in Chile.
The man to watch for LDU Quito is veteran striker Hernan Barcos, who is in absolutely stellar form. He has seven goals in Copa Sudamericana, including all three of his team's goals in their 3-0 aggregate semifinal victory over Velez. He also has 16 goals domestically, giving him 23 goals in 30 combined matches between the Sudamericana and the Ecuadorian Serie A.
Kickoff of the match is at 7:15 pm ET on Thursday night. You can catch the match on FOX Deportes in the USA. The return leg takes place on Wednesday, Dec. 14.