MIAMI, Florida – The Round of 16 of the 2020 Scotiabank Concacaf League wraps up next week with San Francisco of Panama taking on Costa Rica’s Alajuelense and 2018 SCL chmpions Herediano of Costa Rica squaring off with Nicaraguan giants Real Esteli.
Here are four players to watch in next week’s two matches.
DF Roberto Chen, San Francisco
The 26-year-old fullback will be appearing in his third SCL after previously featuring with Panama’s Arabe Unido in the 2017 and 2018 editions. Ever since his breakout at the 2013 Concacaf Gold Cup with the Panamanian National Team, Chen has ranked as one of the top defenders in Central America and he will be called upon to lead the San Francisco back line in a tricky test with Alajuelense. Chen will be quite familiar with what Alajuelense have to offer, having played with the Costa Rican side in 2018.
FW Alvaro Saborio, Alajuelense
At age 38, Saborio continues to defy Father Time. The legendary Costa Rican striker scored a pair of goals to lead Alajuelense to a 3-0 win over Cibao FC of the Dominican Republic in the Preliminary Round and will look to add to his career total against San Francisco. Saborio’s record of scoring goals in Concacaf club competition dates back to the 2004 Concacaf Champions’ Cup. Since then, he has amassed 15 goals in Concacaf competition and is tied for 11th on the all-time Scotiabank Concacaf Champions League scoring list with 10 goals. His sensational volley for the third Alajuelense goal against Cibao showed that Saborio can still provide his best under the bright lights of Concacaf.
MF Juan Barrera, Real Esteli
Real Esteli will be making their third appearance in the SCL and no doubt that Barrera will be crucial to their hopes of achieving a first ever SCL series win. The 31-year-old attacking midfielder is the all-time leading scorer in the history of the Nicaraguan National Team and in order for the Pinolero club to defeat Herediano, Barrera’s dynamic style of play will need to be on display. Barrera has played in 19 Concacaf club matches in his career, including one SCL match in which he scored for Real Esteli in their 2-1 2019 SCL Preliminary Round first leg win over Santa Tecla of El Salvador.
FW Yendrick Ruiz, Herediano
The SCL evokes happy memories for Ruiz, who tied for the most goals scored in the 2018 edition with five and earned Golden Ball honors in leading Herediano to the 2018 SCL title. The striker’s pedigree in Concacaf is beyond reproach, with 29 appearances in Concacaf club competitions and 15 goals scored. At age 33, Ruiz is showing no signs of slowing down and will be eager to open his 2020 SCL account against Real Esteli.