PORTMORE, Jamaica – There is an air of optimism surrounding Portmore United as it gets set to kick off its 2018 Scotiabank CONCACAF League campaign.
The Jamaican side will meet Santos de Guapiles of Costa Rica in the Round of 16, beginning with the first leg on August 1 in Costa Rica before returning home for the second leg on August 9.
With just two weeks left until the start of the tournament, Portmore United like how its squad is shaping up.
“The group is very positive,” said club administrator Rohn Rainford in an exclusive interview with CONCACAF.com.
“The players understand the importance of this competition for their careers and the need to have positive performances across both legs of this round. Santos is a well-organized team and it will be two difficult games with which our players must be ready for. The confidence in the group is growing each day,” added Rainford.
In the transfer market, Portmore United have added players from Suriname and Haiti, plus promoted players from within its youth system and other local teams.
On the training field, Rainford feels like all of the bases are being covered.
“Our preparations are primarily on the physical side and a bit on the tactical side. We’ve used a total of four practice games to assess the squad and to look at various systems,” said Rainford.
The series with Santos de Guapiles will mark Portmore United’s second straight appearance in the SCL.
One year ago, the island club fought valiantly but fell in penalties 5-4 in the Round of 16 to Panama’s Plaza Amador after a 1-1 draw on aggregate.
The lessons learned from last year’s SCL campaign will help shape this year’s effort.
“The competition will give us a good assessment as to where we are in preparation for the domestic campaign for 2018-19. Following participation in last year’s edition, this year we are hoping to have improved performances in both legs of the first round and potentially advance,” concluded Rainford.