SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic – Through two rounds of 2019/20 Concacaf Nations League Qualifying, the Dominican Republic could not have asked for a better start.
Los Quisqueyanos defeated Bonaire 5-0 in week one before a 3-0 victory over the Cayman Islands last Friday in week two.
For MF Jean Carlos Lopez and the rest of the Dominican Republic team, things have come together quite nicely thus far in the CNL.
“Things are going like we had hoped for,” said Lopez in an exclusive interview with Concacaf.com. “The team has put forth a great effort. We have kept two clean sheets and we are more united than ever,” added Lopez.
Football in the Dominican Republic has enjoyed enormous growth both at the club and international level in the last few years, with the national team unbeaten in the CNL and two teams – Cibao FC and Atletico Pantoja – that have qualified for a Scotiabank Concacaf Champions League.
Lopez credits the installment of the professional Liga Dominican de Futbol in 2015 as the secret to the country’s football success.
“The professional league has helped advance football a lot in this country. It has been a plus for the country, it motivates players and it’s been a positive for the country,” said Lopez.
Through the first two weeks of CNLQ, the Dominican Republic sits in fifth place and would be poised for a top 10 finish and reaching its goal of qualifying for the 2019 Concacaf Gold Cup.
“Qualifying for the Gold Cup would be the biggest achievement we could have. We’re doing everything we can to reach that objective,” said Lopez.
Next up for the Dominican Republic will be a big test away against Gold Cup regulars Cuba. Lopez feels like the Cuba match will serve as a litmus test for his team.
“Cuba is a really important game. They are a big opponent, a team with a lot of history. We are focused on giving our best and getting the win,” concluded Lopez.