Ivan Sopegno (center) leads a Guatemala training session at the Project Goal facility on June 1, 2015. (Photo: Omar Solis)
GUATEMALA CITY, Guatemala – Despite his team remaining winless and goalless in three 2015 outings after a 3-0 loss at Mexico on Saturday, Guatemala head coach Ivan Sopegno was able to extract positives from the performance.
The Chapines’ are looking to develop a rhythm before facing Bermuda in the second round of World Cup Qualifying later in June. They fell to Canada (1-0) and drew with El Salvador (0-0) in March to open the year.
"For us it was a nice experience," said Sopegno, following his 10th game in charge (5W-1D-4L record). "There are no excuses, but we will try to make all the changes.”
Since being named manager slightly more than a year ago, the 51-year-old has handed international debuts to 17 players, including one to 21-year-old forward Jose Longo against the Mexicans.
"This game helped us a lot in order to know who we can count on, who to keep evaluating for the qualifiers and who are still lacking. We need to play these kind of games with the best and make conclusions on everybody, them (the players) individually and us as a team.”
Sopegno also said that Guatemala will be lifted by the additions of United State-based standouts Elias Enoc Vasquez (Real Salt Lake), Marco Pappa (Seattle Sounders) and Moises Hernandez (FC Dallas).
"It will take work,” he continued. “We need to bring in some players who strengthen us more. We also have players with experience, such as the boys in the MLS. I believe we'll get better as we move forward and as we play more games. We know ourselves and recognize the good things.
“Football is working with strengths and hiding the flaws.”
Guatemala will visit Uruguay for another friendly on Saturday, before facing the Bermudians in a two-legged qualifying series on June 12 and 15. In next month’s CONCACAF Gold Cup, the Central American runner-up will take on Trinidad & Tobago (June 9), Mexico (June 12) and Cuba (July 15) in Group C play.