The Portland Timbers host Deportivo Saprissa in the final Group B game of the Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League Wednesday at Providence Park (7pm PT, CONCACAF Facebook, TICKETS) with everything on the line. The Timbers would advance to the tournament quarterfinals with a win while Saprissa can get through with a draw or a victory.
Having started their domestic season earlier this fall, Saprissa is coming off a top-of-the-table clash in the Costa Rica domestic Primera division in which they lost to rival C.S. Herediano 2-1 last Saturday. Though El Monstruo Morado have only won twice in their last six games, they still sit in second place in the Campeonato Banco Popular Primera table with a league-leading +25 goal differential and a 10-4-3 record.
Leading them in attack is midfielder Marvin Angulo (above) who is third in the domestic league with seven goals and tied for second in CCL play with three goals. The speedy attacker had a brace in Saprissa's 4-2 win against Portland in San José last month. Also of note, forwards Fabrizio Ronchetti, Rolando Blackburn and midfielder Diego Calvo all each have five goals apiece in Primera league play. While Blackburn and Calvo did not appear versus Portland earlier, Ronchetti scored against the Timbers with a nifty chip. Another familiar name on the Saprissa roster to MLS fans is defender and Costa Rican international Roy Miller who spent five seasons with the New York Red Bulls.
Head coach Carlos Watson is on his third different tour at the helm of Saprissa having previously managed the club from 1993-94—where he won the CONCACAF Champions Cup—as well as the 1996 season. A footballing legend, Watson has also managed Costa Rican super clubs Herediano and Liga Deportiva Alajuelense.