Hughtun Hector (green jersey) and DirecTV W Connection will meet Pumas and Honduras Progreso in the 2016/17 Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League. (Photo: Caribbean Action Images)
COUVA, Trinidad & Tobago -- Hughtun Hector has been a central figure in some of DirecTV W Connection’s biggest Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League (SCCL) moments.
He struck for the dramatic 73rd minute leveler in a draw with the New York Red Bulls in the first leg of a preliminary series for the 2009/10 competition. Hector also helped the Savonetta Boys give Pumas a run for their money in the group stage, tying at home and losing by one on the road.
After a spell in the Vietnamese Super League with two different teams, the 31-year-old returned to action with W Connection earlier this year and is back in the SCCL.
“It’s a very, very high level competition, one of the top competitions on this side of the world,” the Trinidad & Tobago international said. “We always try to play at a high level and I think it’s very good for players who have played in the Caribbean so they can showcase their skills at the highest level. From that time to now, I think it (the SCCL) has grown a lot and we always want to try and compete in this competition.”
Hector has fond memories of his early days in the SCCL, especially netting the equalizer off a failed clearance that allowed W Connection to knot the visiting Red Bulls, 2-2, at Manny Ramjohn Stadium in Marabella.
“I remember the whole team played well, I played well and I had the confidence that time. When I scored the goal, it was a good goal,” remarked Hector. “I tried to do my best and I shot and scored. The whole team was happy and this is what I want. I think this time around I can repeat the same form I showed around that time and score goals in the SCCL.”
W Connection went on to the group stage and opened eyes with an inspired 2-2 result against Pumas in Marabella, a stoppage time goal by Juan Francisco Palencia (the current Pumas head coach) was the only thing separating them from a historic win.
When they met again in Mexico City, W Connection took a second-half lead, only to concede twice in the final 22 minutes and fall, 2-1.
“We were very disappointed because we felt we could have gotten the result we wanted in Mexico which could have carried us through to the next round,” Hector commented. “Unfortunately, we made a mistake in the back and conceded two easy goals.”
Seven years later, W Connection again finds itself in the same group as Pumas, opening the competition against the Mexican power at Ato Boldon Stadium on August 3.
“We are confident this time around we can get the result against them at home which will push us forward in the rest of the group stage,” expressed Hector. “I think once we can get a result at home, we can go to Mexico and pull off a result.”
With that in mind, Hector said the team has worked on ball possession and fitness in the preseason buildup to the start of the tournament.
“It will be important for us to keep the ball a lot and not give it away easy, so we’re working a lot on our possession and trying to get fit so we can compete with this Mexican team,” Hector finished. “The first game is very important for us.”