Saprissa’s Watson looking for right formula vs. Pachuca
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Saprissa head coach Carlos Watson (pictured) hopes to have his side at peak form prior to the first leg of the 2016/17 Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal series against Pachuca later this month. (Photo courtesy of Deportivo Saprissa)

SAN JOSE, Costa Rica – Ever the shrewd tactician, the 2017 Costa Rican Verano is proving to be the perfect testing lab for Saprissa head coach Carlos Watson.

In slightly more than two weeks, his side will host Pachuca in the first leg of their 2016/17 Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal series. The 65-year-old, who guided Saprissa to the 1993 CONCACAF Champions Cup crown has already begun crafting his strategy to tame the Tuzos. And, he’s using the opening weeks of the domestic season to fine tune the plan.

Case in point was Saprissa’s 2-1 victory over Alajuelense on Sunday. Daniel Colindres’ 42nd minute dismissal forced Watson into making a several changes, but the Monstruo Morado did not miss a beat and ended up with an unlikely three points.

“With the sending off we made various modifications,” said Watson. “We had Jordan Smith play back. We changed Heiner Mora to the left and, in the middle of the pitch, we did something that I prefer not to say.”

Saprissa’s roster versatility was on brilliant display and Julio Cascante’s 57th-minute goal was a reward for the tactical connection between coach and squad.

Regardless, Watson knows that in order to beat Pachuca, even more will be required.

“I make many experiments in search of the optimum for that match against Pachuca,” he finished, adding, “because in that match we cannot make mistakes.”