Olimpia seeks SCCL rebound as Police United debuts

Olimpia's Gerson Rodas (pictured) in Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League action against host Pachuca on August 2, 2016, in Pachuca, Mexico. (Photo: Mexsport)

TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras – Police United will debut in the Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League debut on Tuesday, when it visits a side that has contested more games in the competition than all but two previous participants.

That team is Honduras champion Olimpia, which will play its 38th SCCL game (19th as host), welcoming the Belizean representative to the Estadio Tiburcio Carias Andino and looking to bounce back from 1-0 loss at Pachuca in Week One.

The setback, however, must be put in proper perspective, especially since Olimpia has been without midfielder Oscar Salas, defenders Kevin Álvarez and Johnny Palacios, as well as forwards Rommel Quioto and Alberth Elis -- all are with Honduras waiting for Wednesday’s semifinal against host Brazil at the 2016 Men’s Olympic Football Tournament.

“Any winning result would be good for us,” said Olimpia head coach Hector Vargas. “You have to try to play an intelligent match. We do not have information about them. They have good players over there, not in the form of Hondurans, but with special characteristics.”

Led by head coach Charlie Slusher, Police United’s roster contains Belize internationals Trevor Lennon (defender), Andres Makin (defender) and 32-year-old attacker Harrison Roches, who has scored four goals in 17 all-time World Cup qualifiers.

“I have the team support,” Roches told reporters recently. “As the striker, yes, they depend on me and everybody on the team know their role as well. I believe that we work out together; camping and we are like one family. So we know each other and that is an essential role when it comes to this football and when we are playing. I believe that I have all the support from midfielders and defense.”

Police United, the 2015 Belizean Opening champion, edged 2016 Closing champion Belmopan Bandits for a place in the SCCL by a single point, 40-39, on the regular-season, combined-points rule.