GUAPILES, Costa Rica – When football fans think of Costa Rica’s top clubs, the trio of Saprissa, Alajuelense and Herediano immediately comes to mind.
That’s not a surprise, especially when you consider that they have combined to win a staggering 88 league titles. Saprissa and Alajuelense (1986, 2004) have also captured five CONCACAF championships between them, with the Monstruo Morado being the last non-Mexican side to hold the confederation’s crown 12 years ago.
The advent of the Scotiabank CONCACAF League (SCL) this year, however, has given hope that another team from the Central American nation can join the exclusive assemblage.
Santos de Guapiles is looking to take another step in that process on Wednesday, when it faces host Arabe Unido in the first leg of their SCL semifinal series.
“The truth is that winning the tournament would be a prize for the group’s work,” said defender Marvin Obando, who played in the Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League with Herediano. “To be among the strongest teams in the area -- not only nationally, but also internationally -- and being champion, is not something that happens every day.”
It is clear that the club founded in 1961, which has never won a title in the Costa Rican top flight, is motivated to make history.
“We would leave the name of Costa Rica and Santos de Guapiles high,” the 35-year-old Obando finished. “That is why this is so important to us as a group.”
Santos de Guapiles is the only semifinalist to have a perfect 4-0-0 overall record in the competition.
ALL-TIME COSTA RICAN CONCACAF CLUB CHAMPIONS
(all CONCACAF Champions’ Cup)
Saprissa (3): 1993, 1995, 2005
Alajuelense (2): 1986, 2004
Cartagines (1): 1994