Action from the Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League game between Saprissa (white jersey) and host Dragon on August 25, 2016, in San Salvador, El Salvador. (Photo: Mexsport)
SAN JOSÉ, Costa Rica – Saprissa (1W-1D-0L, 4 points) is brimming with confidence ahead of its key Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League meeting on Wednesday with the visiting Portland Timbers (1-0-0, 3).
The pivotal contest will go a long way in determining which of the currently unbowed pair will finish first in Group B and earn a place in the quarterfinals. This is Portland’s second-ever SCCL game in Central America and first since a 1-3 loss at Honduras’ Olimpia resulted in it failing to progress past the group stage in 2014.
In Costa Rican Invierno play, Saprissa is on a serious roll, sitting unbeaten in first place with an 8-3-0 record. On Sunday, the Monstruo Morado raced past host Municipal Liberia, 4-1, as Marvin Angulo, Fabrizio Ronchetti, Francisco Calvo and Ulises Segura struck for the goals.
“[Staying unbeaten] conforms to the spirit of the team, to their desire to get out ahead,” said Saprissa head coach Carlos Watson. “We’ve had a very intense August and from here, until the next international break, it is a road with no stops. But with the roster that we have, we are going to have a great second half.”
Although Saprissa has advanced to the SCCL quarterfinals only twice in five previous appearances, Watson believes that the current squad is in a great place ahead of the Portland encounter. The Timbers are coming off a 1-0 win over Real Salt City in MLS on Saturday.
“It is the match that we wanted and for which we were hoping,” Watson finished. “It is at our home and we have it very clear that we should take advantage. We are going to plan for the match, so that the circumstances favor us and that we grab the advantage needed in this tournament.”
Saprissa is 3-1-1 at home in SCCL games against teams from the United States.