El Salvador working towards Copa Centroamericana opener
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El Salvador (pictured) trains on January 8, 2017, in San Salvador. (Photo courtesy of Federación Salvadoreña de Fútbol)

SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador – As its 2017 Copa Centrocamericana opener on Friday against defending champion Costa Rica approaches, El Salvador is training with razor-sharp intensity.

Under the auspices of new head coach Eduardo Lara, the Cuscatlecos are looking to shake off the disappointment of last September’s elimination from qualifying for the 2018 FIFA World Cup and make a bid for a sixth straight trip to the CONCACAF Gold Cup.

They are aware that a result against Costa Rica will go a long way to making that objective a reality.

“We’re almost at the start of the Copa,” said midfielder Andres Flores. “We are eager to do things well. We have prepared well for the tournament and this week, in the trainings we’ve had, I think that it has us ready to start.

The 49-time capped Flores, a veteran of two previous Copa editions, believes that El Salvador is adjusting well to Lara’s training regimen.

“It is going well,” the 26-year-old finished. “We are very motivated and very open to trying to put into action the new idea of the coaching staff, so I think we are very hopeful.”

El Salvador has never finished higher than third place in the Copa Centroamericana, doing so on five occasions.