SEATTLE — If one thing was clear at Santa Tecla’s press conference on Wednesday evening, it’s that the visiting team by no stretch of the imagination feels like they have any type of advantage over their opponent. Head Coach Ruben “Polillita” da Silva was quick to make that clear by downplaying the result they achieved in El Salvador.
“We are winning the first half 2-1. We view this as a 180-minute game, only that this one will be a totally different game than the 1st leg,” da Silva said. “I think the look of both teams will change a lot.”
One of the changes Santa Tecla FC might try is to add another midfielder and play with a lone 9 in a 4-1-4-1 formation, allowing the “Tecleños” to add players behind the ball, close any gaps in the midfield and look for Ricardinho up top to capitalize on a counter. Whether through simply bunkering down or attempting to win the possession battle, it’s safe to say the visitors won’t be taking any risks to go on the attack knowing that conceding one goal could mean their elimination. Instead they will put all the pressure on the home team to find ways to break through their defensive block.
“The best way to manage [the game] is to have possession of the ball, making the opponent run and not us; but like I’ve said, this is soccer and what the rival does also counts a lot,” said da Silva, as he gave the most insightful answer of a press conference that was intentionally vague on strategy.
About the weather, all present dismissed it as a factor, adding that soccer players should be able to adapt to any climate and field conditions, so you will not find them seeking shelter under that excuse once the game is over. The sole motivation that drives this relatively young club, is being able to show they belong in this tournament. That determination could make them a dangerous team.
The Seattle Sounders will play their first match of the year at CenturyLink Field, a home where they have been almost unbeatable since Brian Schmetzer’s elevation to head coach. They will be the more talented team on the pitch and will have approximately 30,000 fans cheering them on, but they will need to play with a lot of heart and passion if they want to beat the glory-hungry Santa Tecla team they face in this 2nd leg of CCL play.