• Wednesday Nov 05, 2014

    Dely Valdes orchestrates Tauro turnaround

    Jorge Dely Valdes (right) has masterminded Tauro FC 's climb up the 2014 Panamanian Apertura standing. (Photo courtesy of Tauro FC)

    PANAMA CITY, Panama – In a season that has seen it go through a coaching change and drop decisions in each of its four CONCACAF Champions League encounters, Tauro climbed up the table to qualify for a place in the Panamanian Apertura semifinals.

    And much of the credit is going to Jorge Dely Valdes.

    On August 9, the 47-year-old officially replaced Rolando Palma as head coach after a slow start plunged the Panama City-based side to last in the domestic table with just one point from three games.

    Fortunes started to change three weeks later, when a 2-1 win over Alianza launched a stretch during which Tauro went unbeaten in 10 of 12 outings to secure a fourth-place finish.

    The key has been Dely Valdes’ ability to establish a strong defensive identity.  Over those 12 critical encounters, the Toros conceded more than one goal only once.  Just as important, however, is that Tauro has developed a habit of taking points in close games as 10 were decided by one goal or fewer.

    Meanwhile, the team’s attack is enjoying a rebirth, finding the back of the net nine times in its last four league matches, all wins to end the regular season.

    Dely Valdes has made clear his objectives for the semifinal series against Sporting San Miguelito and the rest of the playoffs.

    “We know that it was a difficult challenge, but little by little the players were believing in order to change to play as one would like to,” said Dely Valdes, a former national team standout.  “Tauro is a big club that wants to win it all.”

    Tauro’s road to a 13th Panamanian title begins Friday at the Estadio Rommel Fernandez.

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