Club Name: Liga Deportiva Alajuelense
Stadium: Estadio Alejandro Morera Soto
Nickname(s): La Liga, Leones
Manager: Andres Carevic
League Titles: 30
CONCACAF Champions League: 2
CONCACAF League: 1 (2020)
Style of Play
Death, taxes and Alajuelense in a 4-4-2…this just isn’t your dad’s 4-4-2.
Alajuelense’s system isn’t reliant on direct service. A natural holding midfielder—or two in the most conservative cases—is replaced by two deep-lying playmakers. Both must possess the ability to play passes between the lines, or in behind the defense.
In its purest form, the attack is more of a 2-4-4. You often have to choose your preferred method of death. Fullbacks push forward and provide width in possession simultaneously. The wingers tuck in to create a forward line of four attackers. More often than not, it creates four 1v1 matchups near the top of the box.
Here is where you pick your poison.
The fullbacks can provide direct service into the area. The center backs can tease possession with the midfielders to create runs in behind. The front four can also combine with quick, 1-2 passes utilizing dynamic movements.
If that isn’t enough, Alajuelense can settle the 4-4-2 into a low block and counter. Wingers display their attacking prowess in these moments. Quick central combinations lead to passes out wide in space. The use of width and pace creates chances in front of goal.
That, of course, is assuming Alajuelense isn’t counter-pressing you to death and sparking these moments closer to goal.
No player is more dangerous and dynamic on the ball for Alajuelense than Alonso Martinez. While he usually deploys as a wide midfielder in Carevic’s formation, Martinez possesses the qualities of a playmaking winger and an advanced central playmaker. His ability to carry and attack defenders with pace is the focal point of Alajuelense’s counterattack.
Pulling the strings from midfield is imperative to Alajuelense’s success. Alex Lopez has grown tremendously in that role under Carevic. Despite entering the league as a traditional No. 10, Lopez is now charged with providing that same creative spark further from goal.
Marcel Hernandez is the striker most opposing defenders fear, but Johan Venegas is the more versatile of the two. Hernandez’s scoring droughts limit his ability to consistently impact the game. Venegas’ versatility allows him to contribute to the attack in midfield, in wide areas and in front of goal. He doesn’t always need to be on the receiving end of the final ball to be an impactful player.
|#||Player Name||Position||Playing Style|
|23||Leonel Moreira||GK||Shot Stopper|
|12||Ian Smith||RB||Attacking Fullback|
|27||Ian Lawrence||LB||Attacking Fullback|
|5||Yurguin Roman||LB||Crossing Specialist|
|4||Daniel Arreola||CB||Ball-Playing Defender|
|33||Jose Miguel Cubero||DM||Deep-Lying Playmaker|
|11||Alexander Lopez||CM||Deep-Lying Playmaker|
|28||Brandon Aguilera||10||Creative Playmaker|
|15||Fred Cedeño||10||Creative Playmaker|
|10||Bryan Ruiz||10||Creative Playmaker|
|25||Aaron Suarez||10||Creative Playmaker|
|19||Josimar Alcocer||Winger||Playmaking Winger|
|17||Carlos Mora||Winger||Playmaking Winger|
|7||Barlon Sequeira||Winger||Playmaking Winger|
|21||Andres Gomez||FWD||Mobile Striker|
|16||Alonso Martinez||FWD||Advanced Playmaker|
|14||Doryan Rodriguez||9||Mobile Striker|
|8||Johan Venegas||9||Mobile Striker|