MIAMI, Florida – CD Olimpia of Honduras are just two wins away from making history as the first team to win two editions of the Scotiabank Concacaf League.
The Catrachos arrived in Costa Rica on Monday ahead of Wednesday’s semifinal against Alajuelense fresh off of their title-winning performance in the 2020 Honduran Apertura.
It is a quick turnaround now for Olimpia, but for a club that has an endless amount of ambition, short rest before a Concacaf semifinal shouldn’t be a problem.
“Ever since we started, the matches have been very intense. We have had to play every Wednesday, so we started our preseason to be prepared to face the three tournaments we were playing in,” said Olimpia MF Michaell Chirinos in an exclusive interview with Concacaf.com.
“Sadly, in the Champions League, Tigres eliminated us in the semifinals. We then put forth the maximum effort to win the title in our domestic league and we are very happy about achieving that. Now we have to turn the page and think about Alajuelense, who will be a tough opponent,’ added Chirinos.
If anything, Chirinos knows that Olimpia must savor the opportunity to fight for another title.
“It is difficult, but because of everything that is happening in the world, we must give thanks to God for every opportunity that is given to us, that as players we are healthy and we can put on a show for people and make them happy. That’s what we are working on, so we must turn the page and think about what’s ahead,” said Chirinos.
Wednesday’s affair marks the 20th all-time meeting between the two clubs and their first since the 2017 SCL when Olimpia defeated Alajuelense 3-0 on aggregate in the Round of 16, yet Chirinos expects a much tougher Alajuelense to take the field this week.
“They will be a very difficult opponent. Alajuelense have added a lot of good players. Bryan Ruiz, Alex Lopez, but we have to think about our own ambition of continuing in this tournament. We have a lot of desire, we’re very motivated after winning the championship that we just achieved and Coach Pedro Troglio has instilled in us very good things that can been seen on the field when we play,” said Chirinos.
Troglio has been a revelation for Olimpia since taking the reins as Head Coach in 2019, guiding the Albos to the 2019 and 2020 Apertura titles, plus a first ever Scotiabank Concacaf Champions League semifinal in 2020.
“He has injected many positive things for the Honduran footballer which were necessary and you can see that now when we play. You notice the ambition with which we play each game, the desire to fight and to come away victorious,” said Chirinos.
While Chirinos does have one goal this far in the 2020 SCL, his greatest impact has come as a playmaker, as he leads the tournament in assists with three, giving him six all-time SCL assists. Needless to say, it is a role he embraces.
“For me it is very important and it motivates me to keep working. I’m a player that plays a lot as a winger, but I am also able to help my teammates at the right moments with assists. Also, I can score goals, which is important for a player at my position. I feel very happy, but I am going to keep working to finish in a good way,” said Chirinos.
On a personal level, Chirinos has fond memories of his first SCL in 2017 when his goal in the Final second leg allowed Olimpia to eventually win the title in a penalty shootout. He expects his team to show the same drive this year that yielded their trophy-lifting moment three years ago.
“Whenever there is a tournament, Olimpia will always fight for it as best it can. This tournament is very important for me. In the first tournament we lost the first leg of the final 1-0 to Santos [De Guapiles] in San Pedro Sula, and here in Costa Rica with my goal we tied the series and later won it in penalties. For the club it would be very important to win this tournament again and we are going to fight until the end to try to keep winning,” concluded Chirinos.