Santos de Guapiles strengthened by its SCL journey
Santos de Guapiles players (pictured) celebrate after scoring against visiting Chorrillo FC in a Scotiabank CONCACAF League quarterfinal, second leg-match on August 22, 2017, in San Jose, Costa Rica. (Photo: Imagenes en Costa Rica)

GUAPILES, Costa Rica – Santos de Guapiles’ 15th match since July 30 will be contested Thursday night, when it hosts Arabe Unido in the second leg of their 2017 Scotiabank CONCACAF League semifinal at the Estadio Nacional in San Jose.

For a team that has never previously reached this stage of an international competition, Santos head coach Johnny Chaves says it is benefitting from the knowledge acquired by managing commitments on multiple fronts.

“This is part of learning of competing at this level,” he remarked.  “It is something to which the team needs to be adapt itself.  We planned the preseason knowing these things, so that when we fell, we knew how to get up.”

Santos’ most difficult period came at the end of August and the beginning of September.  After advancing to the SCL semifinals on August 23 over Chorrillo (agg: 2-0), Santos went winless in four straight domestic matches (0W-2D-2L).

It was at that moment that Chaves challenged the team to dig deep.

The response produced a draw at Arabe Unido (0-0) in their SCL semifinal opener and a 2-0 win at UCR on Sunday in the 2017 Invierno.

“When we had the rough spell, we asked ourselves why this was happening and we learned of the team’s capacity,” finished Chaves.  “Instead of being victims, we decided to be warriors.  Each one knows how to react.  The team could feel the fatigue, but it has so much faith in their objectives that it overcomes all that.”