SAN SALVADOR – Come Tuesday evening when the Portland Timbers face El Salvador’s C.D. Dragón in the Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League (7pm PT, CONCACAF Facebook), the club will have added another famous stadium to their list of venues where they have played: Estadio Cuscatlán.
Located in the city of San Salvador, the historic Cuscatlán is the country’s national stadium. Interestingly, it is not the home field for Dragón who hail from San Miguel—85 miles east of the capital city. Dragón’s adopted home per CONCACAF stadium requirements for the duration of the tournament, the Cuscatlán is the regular field for fellow El Salvadoran Primera League side Alianza FC as well as the El Salvadoran national team.
A building filled with character and soccer history, it opened in 1976 when it first welcomed German side Borussia Mönchengladbach to play a friendly against La Selecta—which the Bundesliga side won 2-0—and has since hosted hundreds of league matches, international games and other large-scale events. In 2009 at the stadium, the U.S. Men’s National Team came from behind a two-goal deficit to draw 2-2 with El Salvador during the hexagonal portion of 2010 FIFA World Cup qualifying. Jozy Altidore started the comeback in the second half with Frankie Hejduk finding the equalizer in the 88th minute. With a FIFA-approved capacity of 48,000—and the ability to go as high as 53,000—it is the largest stadium in Central America and the Caribbean regions.
The name “Cuscatlán” honors the ancient pre-Colombian native civilization of the same name that dominated much of the current El Salvador region in the 13th to 16th century.
Recently renovated in 2015, the grand stadium’s grass pitch is surrounded by a color scheme of blue and white that celebrates the La Selecta national team and the country’s flag colors. The oval-shaped building has a mixture of terraced and fixed seats with a host of private boxes along the western side.
For Tuesday evening, the Cuscatlán will play host to another chapter in its long footballing history.