Soccer  > General Soccer  > Santos looks to heal wounds
July 15, 2010, 02:47 PM
By Edgardo Avelar

Santos Laguna's loss on penalties to Toluca in the Mexican Clausura finals has it hungry - to prove it's worthy.

A return to the CONCACAF Champions League after a year's absence will give it a chance to salve its frustration of May's loss, an opportunity to present manager Ruben Omar Romano his first title and demonstrate its claim to membership in the Mexican soccer elite.

Eliminated by eventual champion Atlante in the semifinals of the inaugural Champions League 1?? years ago, Santos will have to start this season in the Preliminary Round.

Whereas in 2008, when Santos started in the Group Stage, it first will have to get past San Juan Jabloteh of Trinidad and Tobago to return to the main phase, where it would face the Columbus Crew, Municipal and either Brujas or another Trinidadian side, Joe Public.

The team from Coahuila has made changes to its roster, having lost forward Vicente Mat??as Vuoso and veteran midfielder Walter Jim??nez. The team, instead, brought back Ecuadorian goal scorer Christian Ben??tez, who played last season in Birmingham City in the English Premier League, forming a potent attack with Mexican Oribe Peralta and Colombia speedster Carlos Darwin Quintero.

Despite being only founded in 1983 - and reaching the first division five years later, Santos has experience at a high level, having won three Mexican league titles, two in the past nine years.

It also has a trophy from the Copa Independiencia, a four-team exhibition event in Los Angeles in 2007, which included two of this year's Champions League qualifiers, CD FAS of El Salvador and Marathon of Honduras.

Los Guerreros still boast of the one of the strongest foundations of Mexican talent that has helped the club achieve results in the recent years. Led by veteran goalkeeper Oswaldo S??nchez, the club will look to achieve international success as it plays its first full year in its new stadium - Territorio Santos Modelo.

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