San Juan Jabloteh faces a mountain to climb when Keith Jeffrey's side host Santos de Guapiles on August 8 at the Hasely Crawford Stadium in Trinidad in the second leg of the inaugural Scotiabank CONCACAF League Round-of-16.
Santos commands the aggregate series with a huge 6-2 win in Costa Rica on Tuesday night with a place in the 2017 SCL quarterfinals later this month on the horizon.
Kenny Cunningham, Starling Matarrita, Youstin Salas, Edder Monguio, Osvaldo Rodriguez and Juan Diego Madrigal were all on target for the hosts while Jabloteh picked up two crucial away goals scored by Jamaican midfielder Keithy Simpson and Trinidad and Tobago international winger Nathan Lewis.
Santos, despite playing in front of a near empty stadium and away from their Estadio Ebal Rodriguez home due to CONCACAF venue requirements which were available at the Estadio Ricardo Saprissa, enjoyed a lopsided first half and three-nil advantage at the break.
Midfielder Cunningham put the hosts ahead 1-0 after just four minutes from the penalty spot, beating goalkeeper Shemel Louison after Jabloteh’s Akeem Benjamin fouled Matarrita in the box.
Two minutes later Cunningham was denied by Lousion, and for the stop the Grenada international ‘keeper later picked up the Allstate Save of the Game.
Matarrita, though, doubled the advantage in the 31st minute, connecting from 10-yards out, before Salas closed out the first-half scoring with a shot from the edge of the penalty arc to the far right post for a 3-0 cushion on 39 minutes.
Simpson pulled one back Jabloteh in the 50th minute, heading home Adrian Reid's right-wing cross past goalkeeper Bryan Morales.
But eight minutes later Santos captain Monguio headed in Wilmer Azofeifa's corner kick to restore the hosts' three-goal margin.
Second-half substitute Osvaldo Rodriguez made it 5-1 in the 72nd minute with drive from above the area in a play that began off a giveaway from Jabloteh.
Santos defender Madrigal converted another penalty for coach Johnny Chaves’ side on 78 minutes after Louison took down Leonardo Adams in the box.
Jabloteh, however, grabbed their second away goal a minute from time when winger Lewis closed out the scoring by turning a low cross from the right by substitute Jairo Lombardo inside the upright of Morales’ goal.
“We didn’t do as expected,” conceded Jabloteh scorer Keithy Simpson after the game. “But I hope we can regroup very quickly and recover from [the] loss. Hopefully when we get home we can go back to the blackboard and the training pitch and put out the work and hopefully we can get a win in the next game and move on. Unfortunately we came out on the losing end [in Costa Rica] but we are going to fight until the end in the next leg.”
Also on Tuesday night, Honduras Progreso, the club of former Jabloteh forward Jerrel Britto, were edged 1-0 by hosts Chorrillo FC at the Estadio Rommel Fernandez in Panama.
Another Panamanian side Club Deportivo Arabe Unido will be in Round-of-16 action on Thursday when they tackle hosts Central FC -- the three-time reigning Pro League champions -- from 9pm at the Hasely Crawford Stadium in Trinidad.
Santos de Guapiles 6 (Kenny Cunningham 4’ pen., Starling Matarrita 31’, Youstin Salas 39’, Edder Monguio 58’, Osvaldo Rodriguez 72’, Juan Diego Madrigal 78’ pen.) vs San Juan Jabloteh 2 (Keithy Simpson 50’, Nathan Lewis 89’), at the Estadio Ricardo Saprissa in Costa Rica.
Santos de Guapiles: 1.Bryan Morales (GK), 28.Jose Garro, 12.Youstin Salas (Osvaldo Rodriguez 65th minute), 15.Juan Diego Madrigal, 4.Ian Smith, 7.Kenny Cunningham (29.Rigoberto Jimenez 75th minute), 8.Edder Monguio (Capt.), 20.Wilmer Azofeifa, 11.Reimond Salas (Yellow Card) (26.Leonardo Adams 59th minute), 88.Starling Matarrita.
Unused substitutes: 21.Alejandro Gomez (GK), 3.Pablo Arboine 17.Marvin Obando 27.Eder Solorzano.
Coach: Johnny Chaves
San Juan Jabloteh: 30.Shemel Louison (GK) (Yellow Card), 6.Akeem Benjamin, 3.Josiah Trimmingham (16.Jairo Lombardo 66th minute), 27.Nathan Lewis, 18.Jevon Morris (Yellow Card), 15.Jesus Perez, 24.Adrian Reid (Yellow Card), 9.Keithy Simpson, 12.Kion Joseph (5.Shakiyl Phillip 85th minute), 11.Damian Williams (Capt.), 17.Vurlon Mills (20.Aaquil Campbell 79th minute).
Unused substitutes: 35.Andrew Durant (GK), 23.Kennedy Simpson, 22.Kadeem Hutchinson, 13.Julio Noel.
Coach: Keith Jeffrey
SCL 2017: A.D. Santos De Guapiles vs San Juan Jabloteh Highlights