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March 8, 2006 – Alajuelense 1×0 Revolution

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This was the second time in four years the Revolution had been eliminated by Alajuelense in the CONCACAF Champions Cup. Carlos “Zorro” Hernandez’ 90th-minute free kick made the difference after the teams had played to a 0-0 draw in the first leg Feb. 22, 2006 in Hamilton, Bermuda. The first game was a “home” match for the Revolution, and playing at Bermuda’s national stadium seemed like a better strategy than the team had settled for three years earlier, both games being contested at Estadio Alejandro Morera Soto in Alajuela.In ’03, Alajuelense had virtually clinched the series with a 4-0 win in the opening game. But in the “return” leg, the Revolution took the lead on an 18th-minute Taylor Twellman penalty kick, and cut the aggregate deficit to 4-3 on goals early in the second half by Wolde Harris and Pat Noonan. Hernandez had played an indirect role in this outcome, as he had been replaced by Rolando Fonseca in the 52nd minute, Fonseca then converting the clinching 65th-minute penalty kick.

The Revolution and Alajuelense seemed to be developing a strong rivalry, and the teams were closely-matched, as indicated by this series. Both teams were developing talent – Clint Dempsey would move to Fulham on a $5 million transfer and Alajuelense’s Bryan Ruiz to KAA Gent, eventually generating nearly 20 million euros in transfer fees.

I recall Hernandez being nicknamed “Bazuca” for his long-range shooting ability at the time. He then moved to the Melbourne Victory in Australia on a transfer worth about $600,000.

The Revolution had been at the forefront of MLS’ attempt to develop ties with Costa Rica. The Revolution spent most of March ’06 in the country, concluding with a match against Herediano at Estadio Eladio Rosabel Cordero March 22. The LA Galaxy had been involved in a Champions Cup series with Saprissa, and also planned to extend training camp in Costa Rica. But on Thursday, March 9, Galaxy general manager Doug Hamilton died of a heart attack, and the team returned to Los Angeles. Chris Aduama photo



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