Dragon (pictured) will be making its first-ever appearance in the Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League against the host Portland Timbers on August 3, 2016. (Photo courtesy of CD Dragon)
SAN MIGUEL, El Salvador – As one of seven Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League debutants, Dragon has been preparing for Wednesday’s Group B opener at the Portland Timbers with great anticipation.
After all, its wait for this moment was a lengthy one, winning the Salvadoran title for the first time since 1953 by defeating Aguila, 1-0, in the 2016 Apertura final.
“We are approaching [the Champions League] in the best way possible,” defender Luis Hernandez told CONCACAF.com. “We are preparing ourselves and, for me personally, I am happy to be playing in the [SCCL]. It is another challenge for my career and the hope is to excel.”
While some might construe a lack of international experience as a drawback, Hernandez thinks it could be positive for Dragon.
“I think it can be an advantage,” he commented. “Dragon does not have any [SCCL] history, but we want to show well. The team is working hard and it is a good roster.”
Dragon is taking a step-by-step approach to the SCCL group stage and Hernandez asserts that a result in the first match would provide a big boost.
“The team has been playing well,” commented the 31-year-old, who is in the fourth year of his second stint with the club. “We know our opponents are strong, but we go into that first game no looking to lose and trying to play positively. Our objective is to reach the next round.”
It is that type of attitude that earned Dragon a crown for the first time in more than 60 years, a feat made even more remarkable considering that it captured the last place spot with a 6th-place finish in the regular season.
“It was accomplished due to a strong base and sacrifice,” Hernandez concluded. “The team was strong in defense. The goal was to reach the final. It was tough, but we succeeded.”
Perhaps, that same recipe will lead to SCCL success as well,