A trio of Austin FC players currently with Paraguay’s Club Guaraní will have the chance to leave as champions, as Guaraní beat Guaireña 1-0 on Sunday night to reach the finals of a season-ending Paraguayan Primera Division tournament.
Cecilio Domínguez, who joined his Austin FC teammates Rodney Redes and Jhohan Romaña on loan at Guaraní, scored what would turn out to be the match-winning goal in the tournament opener last Wednesday.
Domínguez’s 80th-minute goal broke a 1-1 deadlock for fifth-seeded Guaraní in an eventual 3-1 quarterfinal win over fourth-seeded Libertad. Redes and Romaña were both on Guaraní’s roster but weren’t activated for the match.
Then, on Sunday night, Domínguez started and Redes subbed in for the win over the eighth-seeded Guaireña.
In Guaraní’s prior matchup with Guaireña, to close out the 11-match 2020 Clausura season on Dec. 19, Redes scored in the 70th minute, allowing Guaraní to win with an identical 1-0 scoreline and secure its playoff position.
Wednesday night’s final match will pit Guaraní against sixth-seeded Olimpia in a tournament format that the Paraguayan Primera Division created in response to pandemic-related season interruptions.
Olimpia, which beat seventh-seeded Sol de América to get to the finals, has 44 championships to its name, and features 39-year-old Roque Santa Cruz, a legendary Paraguayan player with more than 100 appearances for the national team.
Domínguez went on loan to Guaraní in September; at the time, Austin FC Sporting Director Claudio Reyna noted, “Having him and Rodney Redes competing for the same club ahead of their move to Austin in 2021 is excellent. There are many benefits to this loan agreement, but obviously, it means Cecilio and Rodney will be able to start learning each other’s games, as well as maintaining match fitness before joining Austin FC in January 2021.”
Austin FC signed Romaña in December to add to the Guaraní synergy for the evolving roster; the three came together for a CONMEBOL Copa Libertadores campaign that saw them advance past the group stages into the knockout rounds. Guaraní’s continental run ended Dec. 3 as they were bested by Brazilian powers Grêmio in the Round of 16.