Pumas defenders Luis Quintana (left) and Jose Van Rankin gives the thumbs up after a press conference in Mexico City on August 17, 2016. (Photo: Mexsport)
SAN PEDRO SULA, Honduras – Pumas will look to open its 2016/17 Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League with two straight wins, when it hosts debutant Honduras Progreso on Thursday.
The match will offer an opportunity for some of Pumas’ rising stars to continue impressing head coach Francisco Palencia. In a 4-2 Week One win at DirecTV W Connection, a pair of youthful defenders -- Jose Van Rankin (23) and Luis Quintana (24) – got on the scoresheet. They are eager to prove themselves against the 2015 Honduran Apertura champion.
“For us it is important that Pumas returns to its youth team foundation,” said Van Rankin. “We need to take advantage of these opportunities.”
Honduras Progreso should pose an interesting challenge to UNAM, which is not one of the traditional powers in the Central American country. It’s all the same to Quintana, who says that expectations are always high.
“We are at home, so the fans are going to demand more of us,” expressed the 2016/17 SCCL player of the week for Week One. “They are going to demand a good performance and a positive result. I think that we have the influence and the players to emerge with the win,” said Quintana.
Even though Honduras Progreso sits sixth in the 2016 Honduran Apertura following a 4-1 loss over the weekend to Platense, Pumas will not take the matchup lightly.
“We’ve already talked about how they are going to come with everything,” concluded Quintana. “They are coming in with a lot of hunger to get a result from us. What’s important is that we are aware of that and with that thinking we are training hard. We are equally motivated and going out with everything so we don’t fall due to overconfidence.”