Group C may be considered the toughest Group in the CONCACAF Champions League, Group D is so far the most competitive.
All four teams are equal after a pair of draws in the first round. For FAS and the Puerto Rico Islanders, that makes this week’s matches even more pivotal.
FAS slogged through a scoreless draw with Toluca last Wednesday night on the rain-soaked field at Estadio Cuscatlan in San Salvador, while Olimpia rallied to tie host Puerto Rico 1-1 on Mauricio Copete’s 68th-minute strike.
The Islanders can ill afford to drop more points at home against FAS, which doesn’t want to go winless in two matches when the two meet Wednesday night at Estadio Juan Ramon Loubriel.
«Next week is more important,» Puerto Rico coach Colin Clarke said the draw with Olimpia. «We have to get three points at home against FAS, but there is still a long way to go…We still have a good chance. We will be quite positive.»
Back in league play Friday night, Puerto Rico played AC St. Louis to a 1-1 draw in a match cut short because of lightning. As he did against Olimpia, Jamaican Nicholas Addlery scored the lone goal for the Tropa Naranja.
FAS, meanwhile, has lost three straight in the Salvadoran Apertura, its latest defeat a 2-1 loss to Metapan Saturday night on an Emerson Umana 90th-minute penalty kick. Besides the 0-0 draw with Toluca, FAS has been outscored 8-1 since the season began.
Toluca will return to the friendly confines of Nemesio Diez to meet Olimpia Thursday night, looking to overcome the disappointment of failing to get the win against FAS due to Manuel Perez’s missed second-half penalty kick.
The side appeared to recover some of its momentum in the Mexican Apertura on Saturday at Estadio Jalisco. Toluca defeated Atlas 1-0 on Antonio «Zinha» Naelson’s goal in the 92nd minute to extend its unbeaten streak to four straight games after three consecutive draws. Toluca is two points behind America in Group 2 with six points from five matches.
«I think the main thing is that [we] get the good result,» Toluca coach Jose Manuel de la Torre said. «At the end, the team did not relent in their efforts to find the opposing goal and win outright.»
Olimpia, meanwhile, battled Real Espana to a 2-2 draw Sunday, remaining unbeaten in the Honduran Apertura. Copete and Roger Rojas struck for Olimpia at Nacional Tiburcio Carias Andino, but Mario Martinez equalized for the Aurinegros in the 71st minute.