If the other groups in the CONCACAF Champions League appear to be settling out, Group D hasn’t yet.
Toluca leads the way with seven points from three matches, but the Puerto Rico Islanders and Olimpia are tied with four points, while FAS, which has one point, is a win away from joining the fray.
FAS will look for that victory Wednesday night against the Puerto Rico Islanders at Estadio Cuscatlán in San Salvador. In the first meeting between the squads on August 25 in Bayamon, the Islanders cruised to a 4-1 victory.
Jonathan Fana scored twice, while David Foley and Nicholas Addlery added a goal apiece for Puerto Rico. William Reyes scored the lone goal for FAS.
Puerto Rico coach Colin Clarke immediately turned his attention to Wednesday’s match after a 3-0 loss to Toluca last week.
«We know it’s disappointing, but we have a very important game (upcoming),» Clarke said. «We play in El Salvador against FAS and it will be vital for us.»
The Islanders fell to the Portland Timbers 1-0 at Estadio Juan Ramon Loubriel Saturday night on a goal by Kalif Alhassan. With two games remaining in the regular season, Puerto Rico is in fifth place in the USSF D2 league’s USL Conference, one point behind the NSC Minnesota Stars.
FAS also has struggled domestically, having won only once since the start of the season and settling in last in the Salvadoran Apertura. It played Atletico Marte to a 1-1 draw Sunday with Cristian Alvarez striking the equalizer in the 58th minute after Alcides Bandera scored from the penalty spot.
Group D-leading Toluca defeated Olimpia 4-0 at Estadio Nemesio Diez on August 26 on a pair of goals by Juan Cuevas, one by Hector Mancilla and an own-goal by Francisco Arevalo and will be hoping to take the full points again Thursday at Estadio Tiburcio Carias Andino.
Mancilla struck again on Sunday, and Antonio «Zinha» Naelson added the winner in the 77th minute as Toluca defeated America 2-1 at Nemesio Diez. Los Diablos Rojos (The Red Devils) are tied with San Luis with 13 points from eight matches in Group 2.
«It’s always good to win, under any circumstances, and in this case we beat a big team like America, which is not easy because they are well managed,» Toluca coach Jose Manuel de la Torre said. «The team [played] a very good match, at times America controlled…but in the end the team prevailed.»
Olimpia, which is in eighth place in the Honduran Apertura, was scheduled to take on archrival Marathon, but the match was postponed with both teams playing critical CONCACAF Champions League matches in the midweek.
«We really like the rest because we’re only thinking about Toluca,» Olimpia defender Francisco Arevalo told La Prensa. «We will try to win the game because it is key to move to the next phase, trying to give joy to all the Olimpia fans.»