SAN JOSE, Costa Rica – One of the stars to emerge from Santos de Guapiles’ campaign in the inaugural Scotiabank CONCACAF League is midfielder Wilmer Azofeifa.
The 23-year-old has registered a team-best three assists and scored one goal, striking from distance in a 1-0 win over host Olimpia in the final, first leg on October 19.
“It has been a big goal for me personally, since it will remain in history and it gives me confidence for what continues,” Azofeifa told CONCACAF.com about his momentous strike.
Now with a draw or win at the Estadio Nacional on Thursday, Santos can clinch the first major trophy in its 56-year history, as well as earn a spot in the 2018 Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League.
“It is something important for the club, being at this kind of stage for the first time,” expressed Azofeifa. “We are taking it as a growing opportunity for everyone.”
Santos has spectacularly juggled the simultaneous demands of domestic and international play. It is the only team in the SCL with an unbeaten record (6W-1D-0L) and currently sits fourth in the 2017 Costa Rican Invierno (6-4-4), good enough for a Quadrangular berth if the regular season was to end today.
“The coaching staff has rotated players well, but this team is hungry to make history,” Azofiefa remarked. “In the end, there are no excuses, nor is there fatigue tackling both tournaments.”
The SCL’s curtain closer promises to be an intriguing affair. Olimpia has netted a tournament-high 14 goals, while Santos has posted five consecutive clean sheets.
Something has to give.
“We know that the series is open and we will go out to give the best of ourselves, each one giving their best,” finished Azofeifa. “It will be a tough match. We have to be organized tactically, have a good positional game and be effective in attack.”
That formula has proven to be effective and – with Azofeifa pulling the strings -- there’s no reason to alter it now.