MIAMI, Florida – Arabe Unido and a CONCACAF tournament are two things that usually go hand in hand.
The Panamanian side are regular visitors to CONCACAF play, whether it be their five appearances in the Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League or last season’s semifinal run in the inaugural Scotiabank CONCACAF League.
Now back in the SCL for the 2018 edition, Arabe Unido are once again placing a priority on representing the club to their best ability in CONCACAF.
“We place a great importance on these tournaments, in all of the international tournaments in which the club has qualified,” said Arabe Unido Head Coach Carlos Ruiz in an exclusive interview with CONCACAF.com at the 2018 SCL draw in Miami, Florida.
“We are used to playing in them. We have had some very big performances and we hope this time to do the best. We are going to have a big team to compete in the best way and get as far as possible in the competition,” added Ruiz.
The Expreso Azul will certainly have their hands full in their Round of 16 tie versus Arnett Gardens, with the first leg to be played in Panama and the second leg in Jamaica.
The Jamaican side were runners-up in the 2018 Caribbean Club Championship and have the speed and skill to present problems for Ruiz’s group.
“It is a tough, difficult opponent. We have to have a good performance in the first leg at home and then go there and close things out with our capabilities in the return leg,” said Ruiz.
After reaching the semifinals in the 2017 SCL, many would point to the Canaleros as a favorite to reach this year’s final, however Ruiz was quick to caution against overlooking opponents.
“It’s all a process. We are going step by step. First the Round of 16, later the quarterfinals, semifinals and then try to make the final. It would be something very representative for our country and for our club,” concluded Ruiz.