- Saprissa is a team that always wants to fight for titles
- “Yes, with all due respect to La Liga, but yes, I do see myself lifting the trophy”
- “I feel very happy of being back in a Final with a lot of excitement and motivation as if it were the first one in my career”
MIAMI, Florida – In the four-year history of the Scotiabank Concacaf League, there are several teams that boast an impressive record when it comes to head-to-head series wins, but none of them come close to touching Deportivo Saprissa’s current 8W-0L mark.
In their first SCL in 2019, the Monstruo Morado won five series to take home the trophy, and now are back in the Final in the 2020 edition after three straight wins.
One of the players who has been involved in every single series win is MF Michael Barrantes, who says that the club’s mindset serves as the secret to their success.
“The secret is the winning mentality that Saprissa has always had as an institution and anyone who comes to this club is instilled with that. It is filtered into their veins,” said Barrantes in an exclusive interview with Concacaf.com.
“Saprissa is a team that always wants to fight for titles, that always looks to be in the final stages of tournaments. With all due respect to all the other Central American teams, Saprissa is the winningest team with the most domestic and international titles. It is not easy in 85 years to have 35 domestic league titles and several more internationally. The team and the institution have always had that winning mentality and that is instilled in anyone who works in this club.”
The Monstruo Morado can add another piece of hardware to the club’s jam-packed trophy cabinet with a win over long-time domestic rivals Liga Deportiva Alajuelense in the 2020 SCL Final on Wednesday night.
Barrantes has been in many a Final and at age 37 he appreciates what it takes to get there.
“I feel very happy of being back in a Final with a lot of excitement and motivation as if it were the first one in my career. We are very happy and wish that it was already Wednesday so that we could take the field and do our very best to defend our title,” said Barrantes.
The fact that Wednesday’s Final will also be a Clasico with Alajuelense makes it even more special.
“That it is a Final and a Clasico makes it even better. That is not to lessen the other opponents who could have been in this Final, but this is a Clasico, it is the country’s Clasico, it is our archrival and that makes it a totally different match. It has a very special flavor because the two biggest clubs in Costa Rica are playing at an international level which doesn’t happen often, so it is even more important to get the title.”
Unlike most Finals either at the domestic or international level, this Final with Alajuelense will be a single leg, leaving no margin for error.
“For those of us who have played a lot of Finals, you know that the first match is the one that marks the pace of the Final when it is home and away. Now that we are hours away from this Final and it is a single match, the concentration, the spirits, the desire and everything that comes with this match has to be to the fullest because there is no going back. You know that you cannot commit any errors because there isn’t another game, so you have to be 100 percent focused. We hope that we can win it in 90 minutes because we don’t want extra time or penalties,” said Barrantes.
With the likes of Barrantes and others, Saprissa head into the match with a veteran-heavy squad that knows how to deal with the pressure-packed moments that come with playing in a Final. The experienced MF believes that could make a key difference.
“There will be moments when you have to speed things up, accelerate the tempo. There will also be moments depending on the scoreline and time of the match when you have to know when to lower the rhythm of play, to manage the game as you know how and to lower the tempo of your opponent. It is always important to be able to add that experience, but we also have that great infusion of youth with our young players and we know that. We have a good mix of both players and experienced players and very experienced players like me, Cristian Bolanos, Mariano Torres and now Kendall Waston who just joined the team. We have a team with youth and experience and we hope to use it all on Wednesday,” said Barrantes.
When it is all said and done, Barrantes believes that Saprissa will be the team to emerge victorious and is already envisioning himself lifting the trophy.
“Yes, with all due respect to La Liga, but yes, I do see myself lifting the trophy. What we want to do is prepare ourselves in the best way possible. we’ve been playing well both in the domestic league and in this tournament. Saprissa is a big club, a winning club, a club that wants to be at this stage. When the moment comes, the only thing that it thinks about, that it dreams about is to be champion no matter the opponent nor the field where we play,” concluded Barrantes.