Plaza Amador ready to rise for Olimpia occasion
Plaza Amador players (pictured) gather for a team photo prior to their Scotiabank CONCACAF League semifinal, second leg against visiting Walter Ferretti on August 24, 2017, in Panama City, Panama. (Photo: Israel Zapateiro)

PANAMA CITY, Panama – If Plaza Amador wants to become the first Panamanian team to reach the final of a CONCACAF club competition, overcoming one of the confederation’s legendary sides is the next challenge.

On Thursday, the battle of the Leones commences, when Plaza welcomes Honduras’ Olimpia to the Estadio Rommel Fernandez in the first leg of the 2017 Scotiabank CONCACAF League (SCL) semifinals.

Olimpia’s credentials are impressive.  It has won the Honduran championship 30 times, captured the CONCACAF club title twice and is the only team to appear in all nine previous editions of the Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League.  Additionally, its roster is filled with Honduras internationals.

Plaza Amador knows the task at hand is a difficult one.

“It is a team with a lot of history in Central America and Honduran football,” Plaza Amador head coach Jair Palacios said at a press conference Tuesday.  “It has six Honduras national team players and comes in off a comeback win against Alianza at home.  They have top players.”

It was no surprise to hear Palacios single out the exploits of Carlo Costly.  The 35-year-old Honduran striker is tied for second on the SCL scoring table with three goals.  He also netted in Apertura play Saturday, striking in the second minute of a 1-1 draw at Motagua.

“Costly is a top player, but you have to be clear that he has a team that works for him,” Palacios concluded.  “That is to say you have to mark the top player and those who help him.”

Through four SCL games, Plaza Amador has posted a 2W-1D1L record.  Both wins were registered at home.