MIAMI, Florida – Two teams with something to prove will lock horns in their respective 2020 Scotiabank Concacaf League openers, as Herediano of Costa Rica host Nicaraguan giants Real Esteli in the Round of 16 on Thursday night at the Estadio Nacional in San Jose, Costa Rica.
Real Esteli are in the SCL for the third time and will be looking to overcome their history of heartbreak in the tournament. In the inaugural edition in 2017, the Pinoleros were on the short end of a penalty shootout that ended 4-3 in favor of El Salvador’s Aguila following a 1-1 draw in the Round of 16.
Two years later in the 2019 Preliminary Round in their second SCL appearance, the away goal tiebreaker saw Real Esteli’s tournament come to an end after a 2-2 draw with Santa Tecla of El Salvador.
Back in the tournament after claiming both the 2019 Apertura and 2020 Clausura in Nicaragua, Real Esteli will be leaning on the likes of legendary Nicaraguan FW Juan Barrera and veteran DF Manuel Rosas.
Herediano clinched their third SCL berth after winning the 2019 Apertura and finishing the 2019-20 season with the second-best aggregate record among league champions in Costa Rican football.
The Ticos enjoyed a very fruitful first appearance in 2018, as they topped Motagua of Honduras in the Final to win their first ever Concacaf trophy. However, a year later as the defending champions, they were eliminated at home after falling to Waterhouse of Jamaica in a penalty shootout in the Round of 16.
Redemption will be on the minds of Herediano, who boast veteran MF Randall Azofeifa and prolific goalscorer Jonathan McDonald, a player with six goals in 20 Concacaf club matches.
Kick-off is scheduled for 8:15 PM ET and can be seen via TSN.ca/TSN App (Canada), TUDN (USA-Spanish), FS1 (USA-English), ESPN 2 (Central America) and Fox Sports 2 (Mexico).