El Salvador’s Lara excited for Gold Cup

El Salvador head coach Eduardo Lara (center) shakes hands with former USA star Cobi Jones at a CONCACAF Gold Cup media event on March 7, 2017, in Santa Clara, California, USA. (Photo: Howard Smith/isiphotos.com)

SANTA CLARA, California – A third-place finish at the 2017 Copa Centroamericana has boosted El Salvador’s hopes of making a strong impression come July, when it competes in the CONCACAF Gold Cup.

On Tuesday, head coach Eduardo Lara was in attendance at Levi’s Stadium as the Gold Cup groups and scheduled were announced.  The Cuscatlecos are in Group C with defending champion Mexico, 2015 runner-up Jamaica and debutant Curacao.

“Like what we did in Panama {at the Copa Centroamericana] in January…it’s a preamble for what we want to do, which is to play football well, with a good touch of the ball, with good management, with players with good technique, strengthen ourselves mentally,” Lara said. 

In nine previous Gold Cup appearances, El Salvador has advanced to the quarterfinal stage on four occasions, but never progressed to the final four.  Despite competing in a group that contains both of the 2015 finalists, Lara is optimistic.

“I want all Salvadorans to know that we are going to have an excellent tournament.  We are in a very interesting group with the national teams of Mexico, Jamaica and Curacao,” commented the 57-year-old Colombian who was handed the Salvadoran managerial reins last December.  “Logically, the fact of having the champion, Mexico, is a big plus and for us it is great motivation, equally for Jamaica and equally for Curacao.”

Lara is most enthusiastic for the meeting with Mexico, which is also coached by a Colombian, Juan Carlos Osorio.  The sides have been squaring off for 82 years.

“We know Juan Carlos because he is also Colombian,” Lara remarked.  “We know his methodology and work and his thinking.  So equally for us what we want to do and our aim is to have a good Gold Cup, knowing that ahead we have a great motivation which is the Mexican national team.”

What can ultimately be expected from El Salvador at the Gold Cup?  Lara struck a positive tone.

“I think that if we manage to find that style for the players in the manner we are thinking, we are going to dream and have a good Gold Cup,” he finished.