SCCL View: Saprissa
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Saprissa’s Marvin Angulo (white jersey) has competed in five different editions of the Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League. (Photo: Mexsport)

In the eleventh of a series of articles taking a closer look at each of the 16 teams in the 2018 Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League (SCCL), CONCACAF.com goes in-depth on Saprissa.

SAPRISSA/COSTA RICA

By The Numbers

2017 Invierno Record: W13 D4 L5 GF50 GA27

Final Position (Regular Season): 2nd Place

Final Position (Playoffs): 2nd Place, Quadrangular

Playoff Results: Quadrangular -- W3 D1 L2 (0-0 away draw v Santos de Guapiles, 1-0 away win v Herediano, 2-1 home win v Perez Zeledon, 2-3 away loss v Perez Zeledon, 1-0 home win v Herediano, 1-2 home loss v Santos de Guapiles)

Top Scorer (Regular Season): Marvin Angulo, 9 goals 

Season Summary

Heading into the 2017 Invierno season, Saprissa had won four of the previous seven Costa Rican crown.  In a bid claim its 34th domestic crown, however, the Monstruo Morado missed out on a place in the final, finishing second in both the regular season and Quadrangular.  Following a season-ending 2-1 loss to Santos de Guapiles, Carlos Watson announced he was stepping down as head coach due to health concerns.  Vladimir Quesada was handed the managerial reins on an interim basis.

Season Highlight

Outside of runaway regular-season champion Herediano, no team had a better home record than Saprissa at 8W-1D-2L.  On the road, the Monstruo Morado netted a league-best 21 goals.

Key Player: Ulises Segura

The 24-year-old midfielder, who was called up for Costa Rica’s friendlies against Spain and Hungary in November, struck six times during the Apertura.  Segura, though, won’t have a part in the 2018 Verano – he joined the USA’s D.C. United on December 21.    

Player to Watch in 2018: Johan Venegas

After three years in Major Soccer League with the Montreal Impact and Minnesota United, forward Johan Venegas will return to Costa Rican football with Saprissa for the 2018 Verano and 2018 SCCL campaigns.  The 29-year-old Costa Rica international has plenty of SCCL experience, scoring two goals in 13 games in the competition (all with Alajuelense).

Fabulous Facts

Saprissa was just one of three teams to occupy the top spot at some point during the 2017 Apertura, joining third-place Santos, which spent the first week atop the table, and regular-season winner Herediano, which resided there for the final 19 rounds.

SCCL Round of 16 Outlook

Saprissa drew Club America in the 2018 SCL Round of 16, with both teams looking to bounce back from a disappointing domestic campaign.  Their only SCCL meeting came in the 2014/15 quarterfinals as the Mexican side prevailed, 5-0 on aggregate.  The Monstruo Morado does have two wins against Liga MX foes in the competition, beating Santos (2015/16 group stage) and Cruz Azul (2008/09 group stage) – both coming at the Estadio Ricardo Saprissa Ayma.

 

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