Alianza looks to tighten up defense

Alianza gathers for a team photo prior to its Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League match at the New York Red Bulls on September 15, 2016, in Harrison, New Jersey. (Photo: Mexsport)


SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador – Alianza (0W-2D-1L, 2 points) will conclude its 2016/17 Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League participation with a visit on Tuesday to Guatemala’s Antigua GFC (0-2-1, 2).

Although both sides have been eliminated from contention in Group F after the New York Red Bulls clinched first place, history and pride is at stake. Neither has ever won in SCCL play and a victory would seal the runner-up spot.

The Albos have netted seven goals, while winning two straight games in the Salvadoran first division. On Sunday, they defeated host Chalatenango, 3-2, with Danny Torres’ penalty kick in the 65th minute proving to be the difference.

While the offense seems to be rounding into form, Alianza will look for improvement from a defense that has conceded two goals in each of its last five domestic outings. Against Antigua, specific attention will be paid to the prevention of crosses into the box from the wings.

“You (reporters) have been witnesses when you all arrive to cover the team’s training,” said head coach Milton Melendez. “These types of plays have been tested over and over again to combat those centers, but we continue to give up goals in that way. We should continue working more to look to eradicate those plays that have caused us a lot of damage in the last several weeks.

Much was expected of Alianza heading into the season, but individual wins have been surrounded by winless streaks, preventing it from gaining momentum and leaving it in seventh place. Melendez hopes the most recent triumph will provide a boost of confidence.

“It was a just victory because we gave everything we had on the field,” he finished. “We were better than Chalatenango and that was reflected in the scoreline. It has been a win that pushes us to continue forward in the tournament.”