• Lopez had three different spells with Olimpia, including in 2017 when he formed part of the squad that won the inaugural SCL in 2017.
• The 28-year-old Alajuelense MF has been instrumental in leading his side to the final four of the tournament,
MIAMI, Florida – Wednesday’s 2020 Scotiabank Concacaf League semifinal between Costa Rican side Alajuelense and Olimpia of Honduras will be a match that Alex Lopez will always remember.
The 28-year-old Alajuelense MF has been instrumental in leading his side to the final four of the tournament, and now he will face the same club that nurtured him as a youth player and handed him his professional debut in 2010.
Needless to say, Lopez is excited to go against his former club in a match with such high stakes.
“I follow Olimpia closely because I played there and I am a fan,” said Lopez in an exclusive interview with Concacaf.com. “Their strong points are their forwards, who are very dangerous, and at the same time their center backs also play directly to their players up top with long balls. Also, when the ball goes through Deybi Flores and Edwin Rodriguez, they display very good footballing characteristics.”
Lopez had three different spells with Olimpia, including in 2017 when he formed part of the squad that won the inaugural SCL in 2017. That strong affinity for his boyhood club means that Lopez will not celebrate if he scores against the Albos.
“It will be wonderful to face Olimpia and it would be great to once again reach the final and win a tournament that I won in 2017 with Olimpia. From the time I spent with Olimpia, I know that they will be a very tough opponent. I debuted with Olimpia, it is my boyhood club and I have told my family that if I score a goal, I will not celebrate it out of respect for Olimpia. Professionally, I belong to Liga Deportiva Alajuelense, so I will try to do as good a job as I can for them,” said Lopez.
Should Lopez and Alajuelense get past Olimpia and win the Final, Lopez would make history by becoming the only player to have won the SCL two different times.
“It would be really great. We know that in the end, football is about stats and history and I would like to remain in history in a tournament in which all of the Central American clubs want to win. We hope we can get past this round and win it,” said Lopez.
Alajuelense need not look any further than Olimpia as to what a Central American club can achieve at the highest level in Concacaf. The Honduran side reached the semifinals of the 2020 Scotiabank Concacaf Champions League, and with Alajuelense building a team that boasts some of the best talent in the region, Alajuelense are already dreaming of equaling and surpassing Olimpia’s 2020 SCCL achievement.
“The team is being reinforced in a great way. We know that the Concacaf Champions League is a lot stronger, so the coaching staff and club directors have done a great job in building a powerful team so that we can go strong into the Champions League not just to participate, but to compete. We have talked among ourselves that Olimpia in the 2020 Champions League did a great job. We believe we can also reach that stage and aspire for something more, because I think we have the players and the conviction to do it,” said Lopez.
A victory over Olimpia in Wednesday’s semifinal could also set the stage for a possible Final against long-time domestic rivals Deportivo Saprissa, which would make for an electric atmosphere in Costa Rica.
“Fans of big clubs always ask for results and trophies of important tournaments from their team, so getting past Olimpia and going to a Final possibly against Saprissa would be something that Costa Rican football would love, because it would be a Clasico but for an international trophy,” said Lopez.
While Olimpia will always remain number one in his heart, the three years he has spent in Costa Rica have made a profound impact on Lopez and the love that he feels for Alajuelense is unmistakable.
“Alajuelense has proven to be a great lesson for me from a football and a life perspective. I can say with all sincerity that it is my second team, my second home. In Honduras, my first team is Olimpia and here in Costa Rica my first team is Alajuelense. It’s been three years here with good and bad times and I feel a lot of affection for the club. I’m not sure statistically how many games I have played for Alajuelense and Olimpia, but I’m pretty sure it’s the same. That’s why I say that my second team at the footballing level is Alajuelense. I feel love for it because they opened their doors to me, they have supported me and I hope that the day I depart, I can leave a great legacy,” concluded Lopez.