Head coach Carlos Watson (pictured) has guided Saprissa to an unbeaten start to the 2016/17 season after 10 games in all competitions. (Photo: Mexsport)
SAN JOSE, Costa Rica – Just one week after a 6-0 win over Dragon (0W-0D-2L, 0 points), Saprissa will meet the Salvadoran champion again on Thursday in a Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League encounter at the Estadio Cuscatlan.
With another victory, the Monstruo Morado (1-0-0, 3) can take over sole possession of first place in Group B and move ahead of the idle Portland Timbers (1-0-0, 3).
Saprissa head coach Carlos Watson, however, is anticipating a different performance from Dragon, which needs to win in order to avoid elimination.
“We understand that the field is different and could present some difficulty,” said Watson. “Of course, the fans are going to be with them and we expect more aggressiveness. I think that they are going to run more. It is their final opportunity if they do not get the result. We expect some different dragons. We have watched their (Salvadoran league) game from Saturday. They rested three players and it is going to be a very different match.”
Although Saprissa is unbeaten away in Costa Rican Invierno play with a 4-1-0 record, it has struggled on the road in the SCCL over the last few years, going winless in six straight outings, including four consecutive losses. In those four setbacks, the opponent has found the back of the net 13 times.
Watson hopes the domestic-away form translates internationally.
“I think that, like Dragon, we are equally obligated,” the 64-year-old commented. “We have to win. We are going to do everything possible to win. Fortunately, the team comports itself well away from home. Sunday (a 2-2 draw at Belen) was not out day, but even then we did not lose.
“There are ways to stop us when playing away and on Thursday we are going to make count those circumstances when we’ve been able to get the advantage as the visitors.”