Action from the Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League match between Suchitepéquez (white jersey) and FC Dallas on September 28, 2016, in Frisco, Texas. (Photo: Mexsport)
GUATEMALA CITY, Guatemala – In the previous eight editions of the Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League, a team from Guatemala has reached the quarterfinals on two occasions: Comunicaciones (2009/10) and Xelaju (2012/13).
With a win over visiting Group H-rival FC Dallas (1W-2D-0L, 5 points) on Thursday, Suchitepequez (1-2-0, 5) can become the third and Edwin Vasquez, the Venados’ head coach, accepts the challenge gladly.
“With a lot of responsibility, with a lot of excitement and a lot of motivation because it is an international tournament and my players are anxious and motivated for the time to represent our country with dignity,” said Vasquez on Wednesday, when asked how he feels ahead of the match. “We are going to try to achieve something historic, which gives us an extra plus, and we will continue working on the day of the match focused on achieving the result that we need, which is to win.
The task will be a tall one for Suchitepequez. After all, it currently sits eighth in the Guatemalan league table, while FCD has the best record in Major League Soccer. When the sides met in Frisco, Texas, on September 28, a scoreless draw was the result.
“We know in front we have a difficult opponent which is Dallas,” Vasquez continued. “It is a very complete team, but we have trust in the quality of the boys and we hope that tomorrow we can have a good game from each one of them and impose our idea of playing and earn the result we hope for.”
As it edges closer to history, Vasquez is fully aware of what progression will mean to the club and the country. Significantly, the current SCCL edition is the first one not to include Comunicaciones and/or Municipal, the traditional powers of Guatemalan football.
Guatemala’s other representative in the competition, Antigua GFC, was eliminated in Week 5, when a goalless draw against the New York Red Bulls gave the MLS side the Group F crown.
“We know that in this tournament we represent Suchitepequez and we represent the entire country,” finished Vasquez. “We are unbeaten with a great chance, just like Dallas, of achieving qualification for the next round, which is our objective. We have worked on it and we have confidence that tomorrow the boys are going to give their best effort all over the field.
“We are going to bring that satisfaction to the whole country with the result that we are searching for which is the victory.”
Wednesday is also a national holiday in Guatemala, commemorating the Revolution of 1944. Suchitepequez would love nothing better than to give Guatemalans another reason to celebrate later that evening.