Club Name: Liga Deportiva Alajuelense

Stadium: Estadio Alejandro Morera Soto

Nickname(s): La Liga, Leones 

Manager: Albert Rude

Club Honors

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.

Best XI

Key Players

Alonso Martinez

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. 

Alexander Lopez

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. 

Johan Venegas

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. 

Squad Overview

#Player NamePositionPlaying Style
35Johnny AlvarezGKN/A
23Leonel MoreiraGKShot Stopper
18Mauricio VargasGKN/A
6Jose SalvatierraRBBalanced
12Ian SmithRBAttacking Fullback
27Ian LawrenceLBAttacking Fullback
5Yurguin RomanLBCrossing Specialist
4Daniel ArreolaCBBall-Playing Defender
3Fernan FaerronCBStopper
13Alexis GamboaCBBalanced
22Giancarlo GonzalezCBStopper
26Bernald AlfaroDMAnchor
33Jose Miguel CuberoDMDeep-Lying Playmaker
32Celso BorgesCMDeep-Lying Playmaker
11Alexander LopezCMDeep-Lying Playmaker
28Brandon Aguilera10Creative Playmaker
15Fred Cedeño10Creative Playmaker
10Bryan Ruiz10Creative Playmaker
25Aaron Suarez10Creative Playmaker
19Josimar AlcocerWingerPlaymaking Winger
17Carlos MoraWingerPlaymaking Winger
7Barlon SequeiraWingerPlaymaking Winger
21Andres GomezFWDMobile Striker
16Alonso MartinezFWDAdvanced Playmaker
9Marcel Hernandez9Prolific
14Doryan Rodriguez9Mobile Striker
1Gabriel Torres9Target Man
8Johan Venegas9Mobile Striker