El Salvador versatility gives Lara options

El Salvador head coach Eduardo Lara (right) oversees a training session on January 10, 2017. (Photo courtesy of Federación Salvadoreña de Fútbol)

SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador – Flexibility is one of the attributes that best defines El Salvador’s 23-man roster for the 2017 Copa Centroamericana.

Thanks to the inclusion of players possessing an ability to fill multiple roles, head coach Eduardo Lara will have options during his team’s five games in a competition that opens Friday in Panama and will decide the region’s representatives to the 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup.

“They are very smart players, players with good technique and when one has players with good technique the system can amplify itself and the capacity that they have makes it easier,” said Lara. “It’s something very flexible for us. We can use a 4-3-1-2, a 4-4-1-1 or a 4-4-2. Those are the systems that, according to the opponent, we’re going to have, we’re going to implement.” 

Friday’s opener against two-time defending champion Costa Rica marks the Colombian’s first game at the Cuscatleco helm, following his appointment to the managerial post last month. Lara previously guided El Salvador to a berth in the 2017 CONCACAF Under-20 Championship with an impressive second-place finish in last year’s Central American qualifying tournament.

Now tasked with leading the senior team, he is hoping to guide El Salvador to a tenth Gold Cup appearance. A top-four finish would clinch a sixth consecutive trip to the prestigious competition and Lara is confident that will happen.

“The players are going with a lot of hope of achieving the objective of earning a spot for the Gold Cup,” the 57-year-old finished. “We have to give joy to the Salvadoran people. We are going to face the matches with a lot of seriousness. This is a tight, united team and that will be reflected on the field.” 

GOALKEEPERS: Oscar Arroyo, Henry Hernandez, Benji Villalobos

DEFENDERS: Juan Barahona, Ibsen Castro, Roberto Domínguez, Alexander Larin, Ivan Mancia, Oscar Menjivar, Henry Romero, Brayan Tamacas

MIDFIELDERS: Jaime Alas, Darwin Ceren, Oscar Ceren, Andres Flores, Gerson Mayen, Richard Menjivar, Pablo Punyed, Raul Renderos, Herbert Sosa

FORWARDS: Nelson Bonilla, Irving Herrera, Rodolfo Zelaya