Darwin Ceren (pictured) is suspended for El Salvador's first game in the 2017 Copa Centroamericana against Costa Rica. (Photo: Mexsport)
SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador – El Salvador will be without suspended midfielder Darwin Ceren on Friday, when it opens 2017 Copa Centroamericana play against two-time defending champion Costa Rica at the Estadio Rommel Fernandez in Panama City, Panama.
The San Jose Earthquakes standout admits to being disappointed about missing out on the big occasion, but he’ll be cheering on his teammates.
“I would’ve liked to start playing the first game because it is very important, a pretty strong (Costa Rica) selection and, well, I like these type of games,” said Ceren. “Anyway, I think that supporting the team, wishing them all the best. I know we’ve done a good job and we will expect to have better results.”
Despite being one of four teams to participate in all previous 13 editions of the competition -- which crowns the Central American champion and qualifies teams to the CONCACAF Gold Cup – El Salvador has never finished above third place, doing so five times.
In order to help change that statistic, Colombian Eduardo Lara, who guided El Salvador to a spot in this year’s CONCACAF Under-20 Championship, was named head coach last month in place of Ramon Maradiaga after the side was eliminated from qualifying for the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
Ceren has been pleased with Lara’s approach to training and what could result from the new regime’s approach.
“Coach Lara is very clear on what he wants,” the 27-year-old commented. “He wants an organized team that knows the ball, that’s not impatient and attacks the opponent at the right time. We are clear on that idea. We know we are a group, that we are strong.
“We’ll try our best and, as I told you before, we are ready. We declare ourselves ready for this tournament and we trust in God, and the group. Everything will be fine.”
El Salvador has qualified for the last five CONCACAF Gold Cups.