SCCL View: Santa Tecla
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Santa Tecla (left) in action against Alianza during the Salvadoran Apertura final on December 17, 2017, in San Salvador. El Salvador. (Photo courtesy of Primera División de Fútbol Profesional de El Salvador)

In the second of a series taking a closer look at each of the 16 teams in the 2018 Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League, CONCACAF.com goes in-depth on Santa Tecla.

SANTA TECLA/EL SALVADOR

By The Numbers
2017 Apertura Record: W9 D8 L3 GF36 GA20
Final Position (Regular Season): 2nd Place
Final Position (Playoffs): Runner-up
Playoff Results: Lost to Alianza, 4-1, in single-game final
Top Scorer (Regular Season): Lorenzo Frutos, 9 goals

Season Summary
Santa Tecla entered the 2017 Apertura as two-time defending champion and again proved to be one of the top teams in the Liga Pepsi. After finishing second to Alianza during the regular season, Santa Tecla played Municipal Limeño (quarterfinals, agg: 0-0) and Isidro Metapan (semifinals, agg: 2-2 ) to draws in the playoffs, advancing each time by virtue of being the higher seed, before falling to Alianza, 4-1, in the final. It was the third straight meeting between the sides in the decider.

Season Highlight
In its first regular-season encounter with Alianza on August 13, Santa Tecla was reduced a player late in the first half and fell behind 1-0 midway through the second, before Gilberto Baires struck for the 76th-mintue equalizer to secure an emotional 1-1 draw.

Key Player: Gilberto Baires
With the departure of leading scorer Lorenzo Frutos (9 Apertura goals), Baires will be the top returning scoring threat after striking six times in the 2017 Apertura. The 27-year-old Salvadoran midfielder netted the 81st minute game-winner in a 2-1 victory at FAS on October 12.

Player to Watch in 2018: Roberto Dominguez
Already at the heart of the Santa Tecla defense, Dominguez – a 20-year-old El Salvador international -- played 16 matches during the Apertura as a member of a backline that conceded just 20 times in 20 matches.

Fabulous Facts
Santa Tecla recorded a league-best eight wins during the 2017 Apertura at its Estadio Las Delicias, going 8W-3D-0L and joining Alianza as the only teams to complete the season undefeated at home.

SCCL Round of 16 Outlook
Santa Tecla is hoping its most successful period as a club can translate to a first-ever win in the SCCL, when it meets Seattle Sounders FC in the Round of 16. Santa Tecla has faced one MLS opponent in the competition, tying Real Salt Lake at home and losing 2-1 away in the 2015/16 group stage.

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