MIAMI, Florida – When it is all said and done, there is a chance that the fate of the 2020 Scotiabank Concacaf League may rest in the hands of a select group of men.
They are, of course, the goalkeepers of the respective semifinalists: CD Olimpia (HON), Deportivo Saprissa (CRC), Liga Deportiva Alajuelense (CRC) and Arcahaie FC (HAI).
The tournament has already produced seven penalty shootouts, including the historic 18-round shootout between Motagua of Honduras and Guatemalan side Comunicaciones in the Preliminary Round, which ended 15-14 in favor of Motagua.
With that in mind, it is important to take a closer look at the netminders of each of the SCL semifinalists.
CD Olimpia will be relying on veteran Edrick Menjivar, a 27-year-old GK who has five career appearances in the SCL and was part of the Olimpia side that won the first SCL title in 2017.
Menjivar has conceded just three goals in those five matches and has registered two clean sheets, both of which have come in the present edition. Menjivar has made seven saves in his two matches in the 2020 SCL.
Deportivo Saprissa will feel like they are in good hands with their No.1, Aaron Cruz. The 29-year-old has been spectacular in the 2020 SCL, with 15 saves, tops among all GKs in the tournament.
In his career, Cruz has featured in seven SCL matches, making 25 of Saprissa’s 49 saves in their tournament history, and kept four clean sheets in helping Saprissa win the 2019 SCL title.
It will be interesting to see which GK gets the nod for Alajuelense in their semifinal with Olimpia. Both Mauricio Vargas and Leonel Moreira have impressed in the 2020 SCL.
Vargas made two saves in keeping a clean sheet in Alajuelense’s 3-0 win over Cibao FC of the Dominican Republic in the Preliminary Round, while Moreira has amassed four saves in two matches, including a clean sheet in the 1-0 win over Panama’s San Francisco in the Round of 16.
Rounding out the group of men in goal is Arcahaie’s Guerry Romondt, who has four saves in the 2020 SCL and also saved two penalties in Arcahaie’s 4-2 penalty shootout win over Forge FC of Canada in the quarterfinals.
In an SCL season in which shot-stopping and penalty-saving has been paramount, these GKs will need to be at their best when the semifinals kick off on Wednesday.