SANDY, Utah – If Real Salt Lake’s Arturo Alvarez checks in as a substitute for Tuesday night’s CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal second leg (7 pm, FSC, LIVE CHAT on MLSsoccer.com), it's likely he’ll be coming on for a forward.
The Salvadoran international indicated that the coaching staff has used him primarily up top in recent weeks despite being more of a winger with previous clubs, including his most recent stay with the San Jose Earthquakes.
“I’m pretty sure I’m coming in as a forward,” Alvarez told MLSsoccer.com. “That’s where the coaching staff has been looking at me. I’ve been playing out wide most of my career in MLS and I’ve gotten comfortable playing there for so many years. But I think maybe my position would be up top, closer to goal, to get plays going and get people involved. I’m looking forward to it.”
It’s hard to believe that Alvarez is entering his ninth season in MLS as he’s still just 25 years old and ready to enter the prime of his career. However, the only taste he has ever got of the CONCACAF Champions League came back in his rookie season of 2003, when the Earthquakes were bounced from the old version of the Champions Cup in the first round.
[inline_node:326650]“It’s a great experience and something that I think everybody wants to be a part of,” Alvarez said. “It’s a very important tournament and get you the opportunity to go to the club world championship. Who doesn’t want to be a part of that? The fact that we’re taking [the Champions League] seriously is the way it should be.”
Alvarez, who once played for US youth national teams before switching over to represent El Salvador, is now fully recovered from an adductor strain which cost him a few days of practice two weeks ago.
With Alvaro Saborio and Fabian Espindola expected to once again start against the Crew, Alvarez is hoping that coming into Tuesday’s match at Rio Tinto Stadium is a good sign.
An appearance would mark his RSL debut in an official match. His manager, Jason Kreis, has said that he would have used his new acquisition in last week’s first leg had it not been for the two red cards his team received.
“If I do come in, hopefully it’s not because we’re down a goal,” Alvarez said. “Maybe it’ll be for me to help us get another goal or get something going to move on to the next round. We’re ready for this next game and we’ve been preparing really well.”
Make sure to download the latest episode of ExtraTime Radio, featuring Columbus Crew defender Andy Iro on the CONCACAF Champions League series and ESPN's Allen Hopkins discussing Shalrie Joseph and his role with the New England Revolution.