Isidro Metapan (above) will open its seventh CONCACAF Champions League campaign on August 5, 2014, against visting Leon. (Photo: Salvador Melendez)
METAPAN, El Salvador -- It has almost become an annual rite of passage for Isidro Metapan – win at least one domestic title and compete in the CONCACAF Champions League.
In a battle of two-time defending domestic champions, the Salvadoran powerhouse kicks off its 2014/15 CCL campaign Tuesday at the Estadio Cuscatlan in San Salvador against Mexico’s Leon. When the match kicks off, the Jaguares will join Olimpia of Honduras as the only teams to play in all seven editions of the tournament.
A year ago, Metapan managed only a single 2013/14 CCL win, defeating the LA Galaxy 4-0 on the last day of group play. Its best-ever placement came in 2011/12, when it reached the quarterfinals before being eliminated by Mexico’s Pumas.
Some personnel changes have been made to the side that captured the 2014 Salvadoran Clausura championship. Medardo Guevera and Felix Alexander Sanchez are in, while Luis Peria and Melvin Orantes have transferred out. Midfielder Andres Flores is on loan with the New York Cosmos.
On Saturday, Metapan rallied twice in a 2-2 draw with visiting Atletico Marte to open the 2014 Apertura season. After falling behind 1-0 in the second half, Marvin Monterrosa equalized off an assist from Puerto Rico international Hector Ramos.
A sensational free kick by Marcelo Tejeda restored Marte’s lead, but Nicolas Muñoz netted from the spot to level for Metapan after Monterrosa was fouled in the area.
“It is important to defend the back-to-back championships in a good way,” said midfielder Hector Omar Mejia in a recent interview. “The objective of the entire team is to maintain our possession the title this season, and hopefully we can keep it.”
Metapan has scored two goals or more in six straight CCL home games.