HEREDIA, Costa Rica – The second Scotiabank Concacaf League final is set to kick off on Thursday between Herediano of Costa Rica and Motagua of Honduras.
Both teams had to overcome large hurdles to reach this final. Here is a look back at their respective paths to the 2018 SCL final.
In the Round of 16, Herediano defeated Santa Tecla of El Salvador 2-2 on aggregate, with Yendrick Ruiz’s away goal in the second leg serving as the tiebreaker. Herediano won the first leg 1-0 in Costa Rica before a 2-1 defeat in Santa Tecla in the second leg.
The quarterfinal round saw a much more decisive outcome for the Florenses against CD Universitario of Panama. A 3-0 home victory in the first leg paved the way for a 2-1 away win in the second leg, giving Herediano a 5-1 win on aggregate.
Herediano’s mettle was again tested in the semifinals against Arabe Unido of Panama. Ruiz’s two goals gave the Ticos a 2-0 home win in the first leg, and despite a 1-0 away defeat in the second leg in Panama, the Herediano defense did enough to secure a 2-1 aggregate win and a spot in the club’s first ever Concacaf final.
Notable Herediano stats:
- Herediano did not concede a goal in its three home matches.
- Herediano is unbeaten in its last five home matches in Concacaf play: 4W-1D-0L.
- Herediano has scored in its last 14 home matches in Concacaf play.
Motagua took care of business in its Round of 16 match-up with Belmopan Bandits of Belize, earning a 2-0 home win in the first leg and then a 1-0 away win in the second leg for a 3-0 aggregate victory.
Its quarterfinal clash with Portmore United of Jamaica produced one of the most exciting matches of the tournament. After jumping out to a 2-0 lead at home in the first leg, the Jamaicans stormed back to tie the match, only for Juan Pablo Montes to win it 3-2 in the last minute of stoppage time. Motagua’s Concacaf experience then surfaced in the second leg in Jamaica, as it rode a strong performance to a 2-0 win for a 5-2 aggregate victory.
The semifinal has its fair share of nervy moments as well against Tauro of Panama. The Canaleros club was in control with a 2-0 lead late in the first leg in Panama, but a late score from Montes swung the momentum back in Motagua’s favor. Back home in Honduras in the second leg, Motagua defended its home soil and completed the comeback with a 2-0 win in the second leg and a 3-2 aggregate victory, also earning the club its first ever Concacaf final.
Notable Motagua stats:
- Motagua has lost just one of its last five away games in Concacaf.
- Motagua has kept four clean sheets in its six 2018 SCL matches.
- Motagua is tied with Tauro for most goals scored in 2018 SCL (11).