Club Name: Santos de Guápiles

Stadium: Estadio Ebal Rodriguez

Nickname(s): Rojiblancos

Manager: Erick Rodriguez

Club Honors

CONCACAF League: Finalist (2017)

Style of Play

Santos has tactical flexibility, but to a fault.

Caught between a 4-3-3 and a 5-4-1, Santos struggles to form an identity at times. The objective is the same no matter the formation: get the ball to the lone striker. It’s how the team goes about it that separates the “good” Santos from the disappointing one.

The defensive block is low in a 5-4-1. Santos sets the restraining line in its own defensive half. There are no pressing triggers to speak of. The defense relies on winning aerial duels and clearances. In transition—when the chance to counter is on—the distribution to the lone striker is a hopeful penetrating pass into space. It will not connect often, but for a team with a clinical finisher and only needing a single goal, not many opportunities are needed.

The more nuanced Santos is effective and dynamic in the 4-3-3. The removal of a CB for an anchoring defensive midfielder creates an additional layer in the attack. There is more emphasis on wing play. The task of getting the ball to the center forward has increased probabilities. 1v1 duels on the wing create opportunities for better service inside the area. This is only possible when the anchoring midfielder can cover space in transition, providing an added layer of protection.

The level of opposition will always dictate which formation is deployed. Santos is rarely looking to go toe-to-toe on the big stage.

Best XI

Key Players

Osvaldo Rodriguez

No one sees more of the ball in possession for Santos than Osvaldo Rodriguez. His defensive responsibilities are more often on the front foot, allowing him to push the attack vertically. With a single pass, Rodriguez can play a block of defenders out of position. He can carry. He can finish. He is worthy of the captain’s armband.

Javon East

When Javon East eats, Santos wins. His hold-up play allows wingers to make dangerous runs in transition, but it’s his prowess inside the area that makes him the most complete finisher in the league. 

Juan Diego Madrigal

Relying on young center backs, Santos turns to Juan Diego Madrigal to lead the back line. Madrigal is tactically flexible enough to play one of the three center back roles, but is better utilized as a right wingback. In his old age, he cleverly turns the touchline into a second defender. His crossing technique provides East the requisite service in the final third.

Squad Overview

#Player NamePositionPlaying Style
12Daniel CambroneroGKN/A
1Douglas ForvisGKKeeper Sweeper
31Kevin RuizGKShot Stopper
37Alexander JimenezRBAttacking Fullback
15Juan Diego MadrigalRBBalanced
2Michael BarqueroLBAttacking Fullback
14Christopher MenesesLBBalanced
3Pablo ArboineCBBalanced
5Alvin BennettCBStopper
27Pablo FonsecaCBStopper
4Michael UmañaCBStopper
21Everardo RubioCBBall-Playing Defender
8Douglas LopezDMAnchor
16Isaac SalasDMDestroyer
6Mauricio SalasDMDeep-Lying Playmaker
18Denilson MasonCMBox-to-Box
17Osvaldo RodriguezCMDeep-Lying Playmaker
24Geremy GomezRMWide Midfielder
22Bryan LopezWingerPlaymaking Winger
11Denilson MoraFWDMobile Striker
9Luis ParadelaFWDPlaymaking Winger
19Erson MendezFWDMobile Striker
10Javon East9Prolific
77Nael Elysee9Mobile Striker
Yauycell Wright9Mobile Striker