The Houston Dynamo will face CD Guastatoya in the 2019 Scotiabank Concacaf Champion League Round of 16 next February as the Orange returns to international play for the first time in six years. Before we get to the field, get to know our Round of 16 opponent:
CLUB DEPORTIVO GUASTATOYA
City: Guastatoya, Guatemala
League: Liga Nacional de Fútbol de Guatemala
Qualified As: 2018 Clausura champions, defeated Apetura champions Antigua GFC in playoff for CCL spot
Stadium: Estadio David Cordón Hichos (Capacity: 5,000)
Nickname: Los de Pecho Amarillo (The Yellow Chests)
Manager: Amarini Villatoro
CD Guastatoya is making their first appearance in the Concacaf Champions League following their first league championship in club history. Guastatoya earned promotion from the Primera Division to Liga Nacional for the 2014-15 and a year later reached the Apertura final, only to lose to Antigua GFC on aggregate.
They reached the Clausura final during the 2016-17 season and fell to Municipal, but finally claimed their trophy by defeating Xelajú 3-1 on aggregate for the 2017-18 Clausura title. They then defeated Apertura champions Antigua 1-0 over two legs in a playoff for their spot in the 2019 Champions League.
Guastatoya topped the table at the end of this fall’s Apertura campaign with a 13-4-5 record and a +23 goal difference (34 for, 11 against). They will face Cobán Imperial this Wednesday and Saturday in the Apertura semifinals.
Guastatoya features several players from the Guatemalan national team. Defender Carlos Gallardo, 34 years old, has been capped 55 times in international play, and is joined by fellow defender Wilson Pineda (2 caps). Attackers Luis Martínez (8 caps) and José Márquez (1 cap) have also received call-ups, both scoring a goal each at the international level.
Martínez, 26 years old, finished the most recent Apertura campaign as Guastatoya’s leading scorer with nine goals in 18 appearances. Behind him were 33-year-old Angel Rodriguez and 29-year-old Mexican-American Isaac Acuña, both with five goals.
Despite this being Guastatoya’s first appearance in the tournament, a few players have had Champions League experience with other teams. Gallardo has made three prior appearances in the competition with Comunicaciones (2009-10, 2014-15, 2015-16), and newly-acquired Panamanian goalkeeper José Calderon saw action with Árabe Unido (2010-11) and Heredia (2013-14). Midfielder José Sánchez was a mainstay with Costa Rica giants Herediano and appeared in seven Champions League tournaments, including two substitute appearances in last year’s edition.