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Almada: We're convinced that this will be a winning team

02 de July del 2019 6:42 am.

Guillermo Almada, already making positive strides with his attack-minded style of play, offered his thoughts on the state of the team before setting off for the next stage of preseason in the United States. The Uruguayan head coach addressed a variety of current topics in a press conference on Monday afternoon.

He reiterated the quality in the depth of the squad which includes a base of veterans, players who arrived at the beginning of the year, reinforcements, and youth players.

"Right now we have options to work with," he said. "(For example, in central defense) we're working with Hugo (Rodriguez) and (Matheus) Doria, players who work well together, and we also have (Alan) Maeda and (Daniel) Hernandez who are young players in the club. They have some work to do within the system in order to have more participation, but that's something that we're working on."

As Almada continues to find a perfect balance between experience and providing opportunities for youth, he is relying on players with which he's had experience in the past, including newest additions Eryc Castillo, Octavio Rivero, and Fernando Gorriarán. The idea, according to Almada, is that these incorporations in key positions will provide ease of understanding within the squad, and to be able to adapt more fluidly to his style of play.

"Both Eryc Castillo and Fernando Gorriarán had a great preseason," he said. "They showed a great level in the two friendly matches and they have the advantage of knowing what the coaching staff is looking for, something that facilitates things when it comes to playing and recovering the ball.

Octavio Rivero has been more delayed because he is recovering from a complicated injury so he has not had continuity, but he did all the work and gave his all."

Rivero and Castillo contributed to three of Santos' nine goals in two preseason matches: Rivero netted twice and Castillo had an assist in the first match against Costa Rican side Cartagines. Gorriarán was a starter in both games and comes in having already played at the national team level with midfielder Brian Lozano.

17 homegrown Santos players have been included in this season's preseason activity, with 11 current U20 players to round out the team and compete for consideration to advance. While more than half of the youth will close their portion of preseason in Argentina, Almada will continue to have options as the idea of how his team will take shape becomes clear.

"Surely we will try to give participation to almost all players in these (preseason) games and get closer to seeing our starting team," said Almada. "With how the games go and according players' levels, we will decide on the team that will have more continuity. We are hoping to have it clear for the first week (of the tournament.)"

Los Guerreros will depart for the United States tomorrow, where they’ll play Monterrey on July 4 in Edinburg, Texas and Toluca on July 7 in Austin. They close at TSM on July 13 against Atlas FC.