|OFFICIAL NAME||Real Esteli FC (Nicaragua)|
|HEAD COACH||Otoniel Olivas|
|QUALIFICATION METHOD||2016 Apertura champion and 2017 Clausura champion|
|BEST FINISH||first-ever CONCACAF League appearance|
|PREVIOUS APPEARANCES||first-ever CONCACAF League appearance|
After six appearances (2008/09, 2011/12, 2012/13, 2013/14, 2014/15, 2016/17) in the Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League (SCCL), Real Esteli is participating in the first-ever Scotiabank CONCACAF League. In order to qualify, El Tren del Norte captured both the 2016 Apertura and 2017 Clausura crowns.
Although never posting a win in the SCCL, 16 of Esteli’s 20 all-time games have been decided by one goal or fewer. On September 18, 2012, it was a minute away from earning a famous victory over Mexican power Tigres, when an equalizer by Jorge Jonathan Espericueta canceled out Juan Barrera’s 53rd minute strike in a 1-1 draw.
Real Esteli was well-represented in 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup, with nine of Nicaragua’s 23-man roster coming from the club. In fact, winger Carlos Chavarria’s stunning strike in the 48th minute of a 2-1 loss to Panama was the first goal scored by Nicaragua in five all-time Gold Cup matches.
The team is managed by Otoniel Olivas, who also led Nicaragua from 2009-10.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Carlos Chavarria, Winger: joint-top scorer with Raul Leguias on three goals each in Nicaragua’s qualifying campaign for the 2018 FIFA World Cup, including the game-winner (90’+3) in a historic 3-2 win at Jamaica …scored Nicaragua’s first and only CONCACAF Gold Cup goal (six total games) in the 48th minute of a 2-1 loss to Panama
Manuel Rosas, Defender: played in four editions of the Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League (SCCL) for Real Esteli (18 games/1 goal) … lone SCCL goal in via the penalty spot (45’+1) in 2-1 loss v Toronto FC … scored two goals in Nicaragua’s CONCACAF qualifying campaign for 2018 FIFA World Cup (1 in 3-1 away win v Suriname on June 15, 2015; 1 penalty in 3-2 away win v Jamaica)
Josue Quijano, Defender: played every minute of Nicaragua’s three games in the 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup … scored 1 goal in Nicaragua’s 1-1 draw v Guatemala in 2013 Copa Centroamericana
Luis Fernando Copete, Defender: started all three of Nicaragua’s games in the 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup … scored two goals in Nicaragua’s CONCACAF qualifying campaign for 2018 FIFA World Cup (2 in 5-0 home win v Anguilla … competed for Real Esteli in the 2016/17 Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League and Walter Ferretti in the 2015/16 edition