• Saturday May 24, 2014

    Isidro Metapán, Dragón listos para la final

    Action from the Salvadoran Clausura match between host Isidro Metapan (blue) and Dragon on January 29, 2014. (Photo courtesy Isidro Metapan)

    SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador – While Isidro Metapan is looking for a third back-to-back championship, Dragon is hoping to lift the trophy for the first time since 1953, when the sides meet on Sunday in the 2014 Salvadoran Clausura final.

    The contrasts between them could not be more vivid.

    Since its founding in 2000, Metapan has won eight titles and is one of only two teams to qualify for all seven editions of the CONCACAF Champions League (including the upcoming edition by virtue of winning the 2013 Apertura).

    Conversely, Dragon has been crowned only twice in nearly 75 years of exisitence.

    Metapan, which advanced to the final after getting past Juventud Independiente (4-2 on aggregate), has relied on balance for success this season.  Its defense conceded a league-low 14 goals in 18 regular-season games and its offense struck for a joint-league best 28 tallies.  The lethal strike duo of Nicolas Muñoz and Hector Ramos netted 10 goals each.

    Though recent history would suggest that the Jaguares are favorites, Metapan’s Narciso Orellana is maintaining a level-headed approach.

    “Dragon is a very hard team and they come in showing it, but we are also very solid and concentrated in what we are doing,” said the 19-year-old midfielder.

    For its part, Dragon is attempting mirror Metapan’s path to the 2013 Apertura championship by getting there after successfully navigating a single-game playoff just to advance to post-season play.  It is unbeaten in its last five matches, allowing only two goals over that stretch.

    Veteran forward Williams Reyes, 37, broke the Salvadoran all-time goalscoring mark earlier this is season and is appearing in his 15th final, winning three of them with Metapan.

    There is no doubt that the Monstruo Verde will commit everything to task of securing the elusive title.

    “Metapan is one of the country’s best teams and is the favorite, but the two go in with the same possibilities,” said Colombian defender Jimmy Valoyes.  “And we will go until the final moment, leaving it all on the field.”

    Also at stake is a place in the 2014-15 CONCACAF Champions League.  A victory will earn Dragon its first-ever berth, but a loss will see FAS qualify as the team with the most combined regular-season points from the two short tournaments.

    NOTES:  In the two regular-season between them during the Clausura, Isidro Metapan tied Dragon at home (1-1) and won on the road (1-0).


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