Welcome to another instalment of VivaGlobetrotting. In this part we look at the 2023 season with Union San Felipe. Whatever happens this year, our manager Alejandro Hurtado will be moving on and so it’s truly the end of an era for both himself and his club.
After last years victorious campaign (missed it? Click here) Hurtado promised himself, and indeed his team, one more year. In that year, the aim was to compete in the Copa Libertadores and to win the Chile Cup.
For those who don’t know, the aim of VivaGlobetrotting is to win each top tier competition in each playable South American country in FM.
Knowing that this would be his last year at the club, will Alejandro succeed in his goals?
You might also like:
- The Unforeseen Drop-Off | USF 2021 Season Review
- VivaGlobetrotting: 5 Season Review 2017-2021
- The Heroes from San Felipe | USF’s title winning campaign in 2022
To follow on from last year would always prove too steep a task to overcome. But it cannot be said that Union San Felipe failed to live up to expectations in their title defence.
February – March
A brilliant start to the year. Last season we started in a similar manner and we certainly lived up to the hype surrounding our team during pre-season.
Last season we beat Magallanes 7-0, this season we beat Palestino 7-0.
April – May
Unbeaten after the first 15 games. Again, the same as last season. However this year we have a competitor in Universidad Catolica. Despite losing once, they lead us through winning the remainder of their games (excluding their draw with us).
Our defence remains solid whilst we still have the capability of destroying teams up top. A 5-0 thrashing of Colo Colo a highlight.
June – August
Our unbeaten streak came to an abrupt end against Universidad de Chile in the 23rd league game of the season. This signalled the start of a poor run of form over the last few months of the season…
September – December
Our weary warriors stumbled to a third place finish in the league. Nonetheless, a 22-game unbeaten streak and the double over Colo Colo is nothing to be upset about. The league was never really our focus anyway.
Participating in the Copa Libertadores group stages was meant to be an experience for Alejandro Hurtado and his men. Two years ago they were knocked out by Millonarios (Colombia) in the qualifying rounds so were delighted to have the chance to play six games in the comp.
And so it showed! Union San Felipe excited their travelling supporters with several pleasing performances away from home. Despite two losses we did manage to win one away game, to which our fans responded by singing songs in the stadium long after the match had finished.
Union San Felipe won all three home games, highlighting the power of home advantage that has been ever-present in the Hurtado era, to secure our qualification through to the knock-out stages.
We clearly surpassed all expectation and were ecstatic at reaching the knockouts.
However we came up against Flamengo and were outplayed in both legs. Again home advantage helped us draw the first leg, but in our away leg we were unable to break down the strong Brazilian side.
The Copa de Chile was always the main priority in this season. A win in this competition would see us complete the Chilean part of our quest.
Well, as you can see we beat our rivals Union La Calera quite comfortable in the first round.
We came up against Universidad Catolica in the 2nd round, and considering their league form we thought our cup run would come to an end. But a brilliant first leg put us in a strong position to progress through. And progress we did.
In the quarter finals we were drawn against Colo Colo, a team who we dispatched 5-0 earlier in the year. Two 0-0’s lead to a penalty shoot-out, which we lost.
Our Chile Cup dreams shattered in a matter of minutes..
The End of an Era
As written at the start of this post, Alejandro Hurtado believes that his time in San Felipe should come to an end. In his words he believes that he has taken El Uni-Uni as far as he can and wants a new challenge.
But the board were not so willing in letting Alejandro leave so easily. When you think about how far the team has come under his leadership it is hardly surprising.
It was difficult to read this message as it clearly showed the affection the club has for Hurtado, and indeed the feeling is mutual.
But for the good of his career, Alejandro Hurtado has left Union San Felipe.