The Ecuadorian football season is coming to an exciting conclusion
The Wright brothers, of course, were pioneers of aviation -- while a pair of siblings by the same name were responsible for getting Ecuadorian football off the ground.
Juan Alfredo and Roberto Wright came back to the country at the turn of the 20th century after a few years studying in England -- and part of their intellectual baggage was a knowledge of and passion for football. They got the game underway in their native city of Guayaquil, Ecuador's Pacific port.
Over a century later Ecuadorian football has certainly taken flight. They made their World Cup debut in 2002 and have qualified for three of the last four competitions. More than ever before, their players are making a name for themselves in major leagues around the world -- and there is a good chance that the final of this year's league championship will take it back to where it all started, the city of Guayaquil.
Ecuador's other main metropolis is Quito, the mountain capital. Football took longer to catch on there -- ports are usually more open minded and given to innovations. It was the Guayaquil clubs, then, who had a head start. Two of them in particular were out of the blocks quickly to gain a national following -- Barcelona, founded by Catalan immigrants, and Emelec, whose origins lie in the local electricity company.
Matches between these two are always highly charged. Theirs is the shipyard derby, and it was their rivalry that kicked off professional football in Ecuador. When the league went national in the late 1950s, the first two finals were between Emelec and Barcelona. Down the years the two of them have met nine times to decide the title -- clash No. 10 is close.
Emelec are already there, a place in the final guaranteed. The season in Ecuador is divided into two halves -- in both the 12 first division teams play each other home and away. Emelec were the top side in the first half, and now wait to see who will win the second half. All will be revealed on Sunday, in the last round of league games, at the peculiar local kick off time of 12 noon.
A win for Barcelona will ensure their place in the final. But they have to climb up the Andes to take on the dangerous Universidad Catolica at the altitude of Quito.
Meanwhile, Independiente del Valle, from the outskirts of the capital, will be hoping they slip up. Independiente are a small club who have made dramatic recent strides, based on an impressive youth policy. At one point it seemed they had their first ever final place in the bag, only to buckle and fall to three consecutive defeats. On Wednesday, though, they pulled out the heroics to keep themselves in the race.
Away to Olmedo they had two men sent off early, before a goal had been scored. Their nine men still managed to open up a two-goal lead, and when they were pulled back, they dug deep enough to find a winner, condemning their opponents to almost certain relegation.
On Sunday they are at home to midtable Manta. If Independiente win, and Barcelona lose, then instead of the shipyard derby the 2014 final will be between one of the Guayaquil old school and the new kids on the block from the Quito suburbs.
Tim Vickery covers South American football for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @Tim_Vickery.