Plaza Amador kicks off Panamanian season with win
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Humberto Ward (right), who played with Arabe Unido in the 2013/14 Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League, celebrates after scoring for host Plaza Amador against Alianza FC in a Panamanian Apertura game on July 17, 2016, in Panama City.

PANAMA CITY, Panama – Plaza Amador opened defense of its Panamanian league title with a 2-0 win over visiting Alianza FC on Sunday as a pair of new signings got on the scoresheet at the Estadio Oscar Suman Carrillo.

The reigning champion, which added nine new players during the offseason, went ahead in the 16th minute through 32-year-old Delano Welch off an assist from Luis Fraiz, who played with Arabe Unido last season.  Humberto Ward then connected with a cross from Marlon Avila in the 79th minute to complete the scoreline.

Tauro, San Francisco and Sporting San Miguelito were the other sides to launch the 2016 Apertura by taking all three points on offer.

“We sought players with very good qualities,” Plaza Amador head coach Jair Palacios, whose defense continues to remain strong after a 2016 Clausura that saw it concede a league-low nine goals.  “We are now looking to gear up.”

In order to compete in three different tournaments – domestic league, national cup and the Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions -- Plaza Amador focused on crafting a larger and more versatile roster.

"Players are being transferred, but likewise we must strengthen these areas,” remarked Palacios, noting that his side isn’t fully attuned yet, but will gain familiarity as it trains more together.

Palacios guided Arabe Unido to the 2013/14 Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinals and will hope to do better with Plaza Amador, when it begins play in this year’s edition on August 4 against visiting Herediano at the Estadio Maracana.  It will be Plaza’s first appearance in an international competition since the 2006 Copa Interclubes UNCAF.

Plaza Amador returns to action on July 24 against Sporting San Miguelito.