MIAMI, Florida – With a win in the 2020 Scotiabank Concacaf League Final, Deportivo Saprissa would stand alone in history as the lone two-time winner of the tournament.
The Monstruo Morado took home the crown in 2019 and are now seeking a second straight title when they face fellow Costa Rican side and long-time domestic rival Liga Deportiva Alajuelense on Wednesday in Alajuela, Costa Rica.
Needless to say, there is plenty of familiarity between Saprissa and Alajuelense, and the fact that the next chapter of their rivalry will be played out in a Concacaf Final makes Wednesday’s affair all the more special.
"We are really excited for Wednesday to come and it is a very important week for us. We are two teams who know each other really well. They are different games because it is a Clasico here in Costa Rica and if we add the ingredient of it being a Final, it makes it even better,” said Saprissa GK Aaron Cruz in an exclusive interview with Concacaf.com.
“I think it will be a good game. Each team wants to win. That is what the clubs demands from us and what our fans demand from us. We know what it’s like to be champion, so it’s a wonderful opportunity to do things well and be champions,” added Cruz.
There is no shortage of drive either for trying to become the first two-time champion of the SCL.
“Of course, we are motivated by that fact. It would be a great feat. Obviously, it is a dream that we have and it would be a great way to make history and be the first two-time champion,” said Cruz.
There is just something about the SCL that seems to bring out the best in Cruz and the Saprissa defense. The 29-year-old shot-stopper has appeared in eight SCL matches with Saprissa and has registered six clean sheets, two of which came in this year’s edition.
In last year’s Final versus Honduran side Motagua, Cruz kept a clean sheet in each leg as Saprissa claimed a 1-0 win on aggregate.
With another Final on the docket, Cruz is confident that the Saprissa defense can put the clamps on the Alajuelense attack.
“We have played well. We managed to keep a clean sheet in most of the matches, so that is a positive and gives calm to the teammates in attack to do things well. It is a good point to take into account in this Final, to try to keep a clean sheet to be calm and then finish chances when we can.
“La Liga have great players, they have a great playing style. It is a very dangerous team, but Saprissa also has weapons, we also have our way of playing, so it’s important that in these next few days we go in fine-tuned and take precautions for the great players that they have,” said Cruz.
Cruz was also quick to caution against any type of overconfidence. Just because his side won the SCL title last season doesn’t mean that another trophy is on its way to the club’s trophy cabinet.
“That experience of last year is good, but that doesn’t guarantee you anything. We know that it is a new story and that we have to write it in a good way. On Wednesday, we have to execute it so that things go well,” concluded Cruz.