Head coach Rolando Palma (center) will lead Panama's Tauro FC during the 2014/15 CONCACAF Champions League. (Photo courtesy of Tauro FC)
PANAMA CITY, Panama – Tauro has only one point from the opening two games of the 2014 Panamanian Apertura, but these are early days for an ambitious team.
After an offseason that saw the Toros bring in numerous new faces to contest domestic and CONCACAF Champions League (CCL) battles, expectations are high.
The club has established objectives of securing, minimally, a place in the league semifinals and advancing past the CCL’s group stage for the first time in five attempts. Head coach Rolando Palma assembled a squad to achieve success.
“We have raised the platform in order to extract major results against our rivals,” said Palma. “Professionally, we have a very competitive group. Inside, we have added to our reserves. In any case, I believe that we are well armed to try to tackle two tournaments.”
He also acknowledged that to balance scheduling demands, it will be necessary to get production out of the younger players.
"We know that the two tournaments are going to be testing,” he expressed. “But we’re going face it, try to compete in the two and reach the goals that we have in mind.”
In the CCL, Tauro will play a pair of matches against both Waterhouse FC (Jamaica) and D.C. United (USA). Palma is scrutinizing the duo in strategic fashion.
"The first match is at home (August 7) against the Jamaican team,” noted the 41-year-old, who doesn’t want to look too far ahead, preferring to proceed game-by-game. “We’re going to work on that basis and, for each game, we want to make our home a fortress. We will take the 6 points at home and go out to get the remaining points.”
With an enhanced and more flexible roster, Palma is convinced that the 2013 Apertura champion has what it takes to manufacture a memorable season.
"We tried to put together a very good group, that's the part we've been looking for, "Palma concluded. "The internal competition is very healthy. We have good players, this helps the group grow and I am actually grateful to directors that have helped us build a very strong group to play both competitions.”