Rodriguez gives Saprissa goal boost ahead of SCCL start
Saprissa’s Ariel Rodriguez (pictured) is shown playing against Club America in the 2014/15 Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League. (Photo: Mexsport)

SAN JOSE, Costa Rica - In football, timing is everything. So one could say that Ariel Rodriguez has timed his return to the Saprissa scoresheet perfectly.

Making his first start since a loan move in January from Thai side Bangkok Glass, the 28-year-old forward scored the lone goal in Monstruo Morado's 1-0 triumph over visiting Municipal Liberia on Sunday.  It was the Costa Rican's power last match before hosting Club America in their 2018 Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League round of 16, first leg on Wednesday.

"I am very happy about the team's performance," Rodriguez said.  "This is not a topic about Ariel Rodriguez, but rather the job done by the entire team.  I'm satisfied because it was my first match starting and I really want to continue getting up to playing speed."

Rodriguez's strike promises to make personnel decisions difficult for Saprissa head coach Vladimir Quesada ahead of the Club America clash.  Also bidding for starting roles up front are David Ramirez (6 goals), Jerry Bengtson (2) and Jonathan Moya (0, but 7 in 2017 Apertura).

"I'll get my rhythm in matches," finished Rodriguez, who has five career SCCL goals.  "One needs to play and play.  My teammates have done a great job.  That's why I knew that when they gave me the chance I had to give it my all to be able to continue being taken into account."

Saprissa is unbeaten at home through six games (5W-1D-0L) in the 2018 Clausura.