FRISCO, Texas – Brazilian midfielder Ricardo Villar made his return to the FC Dallas bench this week after two months out due to injury, but he can be forgiven if his mind was back in São Paulo.
On Wednesday night, while FCD battled Toronto FC, his boyhood club Corinthians was locked in the second leg of their Copa Libertadores final against Argentine giants Boca Juniors. The 101-year-old club has won the Brazilian championship five times and the Paulista State Championship 26 times, but remained the only club put São Paulo’s "big four" to never have won the Libertadores, South America’s version of the Champions League.
Much to the delight of Villar and Corinthians fan base of more than 30 million, the Brazilians defeated Boca Juniors 2-0 to win their first ever continental tile.
“In Brazil, the culture that we have is you don’t choose what team you cheer for so you grow up with that experience and build that history,” Villar told MLSsoccer.com on Friday. “It becomes sort of part of you, so it’s a cool feeling to see friends and family and myself to just explode in the joy of winning the championship after 100 years.”
With both games starting at the same time, Villar, a Timão fan since birth, was unable to follow the action, though he got a little help from a fan at Wednesday’s game.
“I didn’t know until the very end when somebody came to ask something Portuguese. I didn’t even know the person, and then she told me what the score was and I was really pumped,” Villar said. “If I had gone into the game I probably would’ve run like nuts until my legs went out.”
Villar hopes one day the long-rumored entry of MLS teams into the tournament becomes a reality.
“I heard the rumors before I even came to the States and I was so pumped. I think it should happen,” Villar said of MLS teams participating in the Copa Libertadores. “It will draw more attention and it would be a good measuring stick.”
Sealy ready to see old friends
San Jose coming to town on Saturday night (9 pm ET, watch LIVE online) means a little more to Scott Sealy than any other FCD player. The Trinidad and Tobago forward spent three seasons with the Quakes in two different stints with the Bay Area club while starting all three playoff games in the 2010 run to the Eastern Conference Championship.
“It’s always good to see familiar faces,” Sealy said after Friday practice. “Obviously they’re on a different path than we are on right now, but it’s good to see some old faces and, after the game, we’ll talk.”