Saprissa prepares for new season

Saprissa (pictured) trains at the Project Goal facility in Alajuela, Costa Rica on June 15, 2016. (Photo: Mexsport)

SAN JOSE, Costa Rica – Although it may seem like the Costa Rican Verano season just ended, Saprissa is already in preparation mode for the upcoming campaign.

The Monstruo Morado has won three of the last five domestic titles, giving way last month to Herediano, which got past past Alajuelense for top domestic honors.

Head coach Carlos Watson, who guided Saprissa to the 1993 CONCACAF Champions Cup crown, is looking forward to a battle on two fronts. The 32-time Costa Rican champion will also be making a third consecutive trip to the Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League.

“We have to shape a highly complete team,” said Watson. “You have to play very well at home, but away you have to win as well. The international tournament should find us in a very good moment in a manner in which we can hold onto.

“I know that the event Saprissa won outside the country (in 1993), it won in Puebla, in conditions of altitude, rain, cold. Those are the conditions that you have to overcome in CONCACAF.”

Preseason camp has been marked by a level of intensity that will match the early-season schedule.

“The work is going just like it was planned,” Watson noted. “We are working hard. There is an emphasis on the physical that will later correspond to the tactical. We do not have any injuries. Everyone has been intense and it is all going well. The volume is high at the moment. They are going to have Sunday free, but they will leave here sufficiently taxed.”

Saprissa added two new forwards in Panamanian Rolando Blackburn (June 3) – most recently on the roster of Guatemala’s Comunicaciones -- and Uruguayan Fabrizio Ronchetti (May 18). Watson said he was pleased with how the pair has adapted to the squad and hopes to have a scheme in place for them soon.

“We are getting to know Rolando more,” the 64-year-old finished. “He has adapted to the workload, he’s not had any problem. Fabrizio has been here since the first day. He is doing well. Right now, they are fighting for a positions on the team. Once the team is complete, we are going to try some schemes and see which one we stay with.”