• Tuesday Sep 19, 2017

    SCL Semifinals, Second Leg: Players to Watch

    Arabe Unido’s Jose Gonzalez (pictured) was one of the top performers in the 2016/17 Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League. (Photo: Mexsport)

    Olimpia will attempt to maintain its sizeable advantage over Plaza Amador (agg: 7-0), while Santos de Guapiles and Arabe Unido will try to find the target (agg: 0-0), when the 2017 Scotiabank CONCACAF League semifinals resume Thursday with second-leg action.

    CONCACAF.com takes a look at a potential difference maker from each of the four sides.

    Jose Gonzalez, Midfielder (Arabe Unido/Panama)

    When a result on the road is required, relying on those who have provided production in past disputes becomes a necessity.  For Arabe Unido to break a 0-0 aggregate stalemate at Santos de Guapiles, look for midfielder Jose Gonzalez to stand up and be counted.  In helping the Expreso Azul reach the 2016/17 Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League (SCCL) quarterfinals, the 26-year-old midfielder netted a team-high five goals and contributed an assist.  Thus far, in SCL play, he has only a single assist in five games.  The time could be Thursday to relive those great SCCL moments.

    Eric Hughes, Goalkeeper (Plaza Amador/Panama)

    Hopefully, Hughes won’t experience any lingering effects from a 1-7 loss to visiting Olimpia in last week’s first leg.  The 31-year-old has been a solid goalkeeper for Plaza Amador since joining the club from CA Independiente in July 2015.  He has played in three editions of the Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League with three different sides (San Francisco: 2011/12, Tauro: 2014/15, Plaza Amador: 2016/17).  That experience should help him bounce back confidently.

    Juan Diego Madrigal, Defender (Santos de Guapiles/Costa Rica)

    If you are searching for reasons to explain Santos de Guapiles’ success in the 2017 Scotiabank CONCACAF League (4W-1D-0L), look no further than its defense, which has conceded only three goals in five games --- highlighted by shutouts in the last three.  A back-line stalwart, Juan Diego Madrigal has played every minute of the campaign.  As a bonus, the 30-year-old converted a penalty in a 6-2 win over San Juan Jabloteh.

    Roger Rojas, Forward (Olimpia/Honduras)

    Rojas can certainly be considered among the most underrated players in CONCACAF, possessing a knack for finding the back of the net.  The 27-year-old forward is the 2017 Scotiabank CONCACAF League’s joint-top on four goals -- with teammate Carlo Costly and Arabe Unido’s Carlos Small – and has added two assists.  He is also Olimpia’s all-time leading scorer in the Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League with eight goals, including single strikes in memorable wins over Mexican sides Toluca (Sept. 23, 2010: 2-1 home) and Santos (August 3, 2011: 2-1 home).


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