HEREDIA, Costa Rica – For the first time in its 97-year history, Costa Rican club Herediano is in a Concacaf final.
The Ticos face Motagua of Honduras in the final of the 2018 Scotiabank Concacaf League, beginning with the first leg on Thursday night at the Estadio Eladio Rosabal Cordero in Heredia.
There is no question that for Herediano players like FW Yendrick Ruiz, playing in the club’s first ever final is a great honor and winning the tournament would be hugely significant.
“Personally, I’m happy and thankful to be playing in this final, it’s very motivating,” said Ruiz in an exclusive interview with Concacaf.com.
“It’s important for the club. Winning the Concacaf League and winning that trophy would mean a lot to the club,” added Ruiz.
Not only is a trophy up for grabs but also a spot in the 2019 Scotiabank Concacaf Champions League, which would be Herediano’s ninth SCCL appearance.
With so much at stake, Ruiz says that the group is fully focused on getting the job done.
“We’re concentrating on what we have to do. We’re happy to be in this final and definitely motivated to take the field on Thursday,” said Ruiz.
When one thinks of Herediano, it’s hard to ignore the amount of Concacaf experience that the squad boasts like Ruiz, who has played in 27 Concacaf matches, 35-year-old DF Pablo Salazar (32 Concacaf appearances) and 32-year-old MF Randall Azofeifa (17 Concacaf appearances).
“The experience that our squad has is going to be a very important factor. The majority of this team has played together for years and we have to use that experience on Thursday,” said Ruiz.
But out of all those experienced heads in the Herediano squad, one could argue that no one has performed at a higher level under the bright lights of Concacaf competition than Ruiz.
The 30-year-old striker leads the 2018 SCL in scoring (5 goals) and has 15 career goals across the SCCL and SCL. There is just something about Concacaf play that brings out the best in Ruiz.
“Being the leading scorer in the SCL is important to me, it brings me confidence but I also have to credit my teammates for helping me reach that objective. Concacaf matches are great matches to play. They are televised and seen in other countries and I’m always motivated to do well in those matches,” concluded Ruiz.