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March 26, 2003 – Alajuelense 1:3 Revolution; 1st CONCACAF Champions Cup win

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After falling, 4-0, to LD Alajuelense in the first leg at Estadio Alejandro Morera Soto March 23, the Revolution became the “visiting” team three days later. Jay Heaps had been red-carded in the first leg, and was replaced at right back by Shalrie Joseph, making his Revolution debut. Taylor Twellman’s 18th-minute penalty kick got the Revolution started, Wolde Harris (53rd) and Pat Noonan (55th) cutting the aggregate deficit to 4-3. Alajuelense had altered the starting lineup, and likely entered the match overconfident, but made a key substitution as leading scorer Rolando Fonseca replaced Carlos Hernandez in the 52nd minute. Alajuelense earned a penalty kick on a Joseph 63rd-minute foul, Joseph and Daniel Hernandez (dissent) ejected during the sequence. Fonseca converted the penalty kick in the 65th minute and Alajuelense, playing with a two-man advantage, held on for a 5-3 aggregate victory.

The Revolution had virtually conceded the series by giving up home field advantage, but appeared to be on the verge of an upset before Salvadoran referee Rodolfo Sibrian’s call leading to Fonseca’s penalty kick. La Nacion assigned “7s” to both Guatemala’s Carlos Batres in the opening leg and Sibrian, who attended Boston College, in the return leg in the ratings.

Alajuelense’s squad included several Costa Rican national team members, including goalkeeper Alvaro Mesen and defender Luis Marin, who did not play in the second game; plus Alejandro Alpizar (who scored a 92nd-minute goal in the first leg), Steven Bryce, ex-LA Galaxy defender Pablo Chinchilla, Wilmer Lopez, ex-Columbus Crew forward Erick Scott, Fonseca and Hernandez. La Nacion’s highest-rated players were Fonseca and Harris, both receiving “8s” in the return leg. Chris Aduama photo

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