Arabe Unido players (pictured) celebrate after scoring against host Aguila in a Scotiabank CONCACAF League quarterfinal, first-leg game on August 16, 2017, in San Salvador, El Salvador. (Photo: Salvador Melendez)
MIAMI – Prior to the start of 2017 Scotiabank CONCACAF League (SCL) semifinal action next week, the final-four contenders first have to navigate domestic league duties.
CONCACAF.com looks at the weekend action:
ARABE UNIDO (Panama)
Next 2017 Panamanian Apertura match: Saturday, September 9, away v Tauro
Next 2017 SCL match (Semifinal, First Leg): Wednesday, September 13, home v Santos de Guapiles
Unbeaten Arabe Unido (5W-3D-0L, 18 points) currently sits in a tie for first place in the Panamanian Apertura standings with fellow SCL semifinalist Plaza Amador. Both sides have scored 13 goals and conceded five. The Expreso Azul is coming off a 4-1 home win over Atletico Veragüense on September 2 as four different players got on the scoresheet: Josiel Núñez (7’), Nelson Barahona (25’), Renán Addles (62’) and Daniel Ortiz (86’).
Next 2017 Honduran Apertura match: Sunday, September 10, away v Motagua
Next 2017 SCL match (Semifinal, First Leg): Thursday, September 14, away v Plaza Amador
After opening the Honduran Apertura with two straight wins, Olimpia (2-1-1, 7) is winless in its last two outings and has dropped to fourth place, but is only one point behind first-place Motagua. The Lions have scored and conceded only two goals through four games. In its last outing on September 3, Olimpia dropped a 2-0 decision at Real España.
PLAZA AMADOR (Panama)
Next 2017 Panamanian Apertura match: Saturday, September 9, home v San Francisco
Next 2017 SCL match (Semifinal, First Leg): Thursday, September 14, home v Olimpia
Through eight Panamanian Apertura matches, Plaza Amador (5W-3D-0L, 18 points) shares the top spot in the table with fellow SCL semifinalist Arabe Unido. In their last domestic outing on September 3, the Lions earned a 3-1 win over host CA Independiente. Ameth Ramírez (53’, 59’) scored two goals and Jose Murillo (67’) netted the other. With four goals, Murillo is the Apertura’s joint-top scorer along with the Chorrillo FC duo of Alfredo Stephens and Rolando Blackburn.
SANTOS DE GUAPILES (Costa Rica)
Next 2017 Costa Rican Invierno match: Saturday, September 9, away v Carmelita
Next 2017 SCL match (Semifinal, First Leg): Wednesday, September 13, away v Arabe Unido
A three-match winless streak has seen Santos de Guapiles (2W-3D-2L, 9 points) drop to seventh in the Costa Rican Invierno standings. Santos avoided a third straight loss in its last outing on September 2 thanks to Jose Garro’s equalizer in the fifth minute of second-half stoppage time in a 2-2 draw against visiting Limon. Kenneth Dixon (4’) also scored in the stalemate. Milestones related to the match: Starling Matarrita competed in his 100th first-division game, while Juan Diego Madrigal made his 100th appearance for Santos.