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Last American team exits CCL as D.C. United falls to Alajuelense

Jairo Arrieta vs Alajuelense by Geoff Burke USA TODAY
Photo by Geoff Burke/USA Today Sports


D.C. United may have won the night, but that wasn’t the task at hand. For the lone remaining American team in CONCACAF Champions League, a disastrous 5-2 loss in their first leg against Alajuelense was too much to overcome.

D.C. United exited the competition Wednesday after a 2-1 win at home over their Costa Rican opponent, failing to get the three-goal lead they needed to undo last week’s damage.

With D.C. out, no American teams remain in the CCL field and the Montreal Impact are the final Major League Soccer team left following an upset win over Pachuca on Tuesday.

Though D.C. faltered in the quarterfinal, it wasn’t for lack of taking the match seriously. D.C. fielded a strong first-team squad and coach Ben Olsen was ejected before the first half for some words he had for the referee.

The American hosts had a promising start as Jairo Arrieta got on the end of a loose ball in the 36th minute to one-time it for an early lead, but the other goals that needed to follow simply never came. Not until the second half did D.C. truly threaten again, with a Fabian Espindola shot sailing just wide of the near post in the 51st minute.

With the clock ticking, Alajuelense all but dashed D.C.’s hopes in the 71st minute as a Johan Venegas capitalized on a poor clearance to equalize. D.C. United capped off the scoring some 18 minutes later with Espindola scoring from the spot on a penalty kick before the whistle.

Here are the match highlights:


  1. Unfortunatelly, americans don’t treat seriously Champions League. Money of MLS are to important for them …… and until CCL will increase the prize, MLS clubs will play like a friendly these matches

  2. DC was outclassed last night. Ben Olson gets kicked out of the game. Great job Ben! You are maturing. DC United look like a glorified college team. A lot of running with very little purpose.

    I know everyone wants to think MLS is as good as Liga MX. Until MLS starts actually winning the competition and making appearances at the World Club Championships, we are not there yet. It is that simple.

    We need to win it a couple of times. For now, MLS Clubs do not see the CCL as important, until there is more money in it.

    • You’re saying this a day after Montreal became the 2nd MLS team ever to knock off a Liga MX team in a two-leg CCL tie.

    • It would be fun if people stopped relying on a single game sample to conclude if MLS is getting better or worse than other leagues in CONCACAF. MLS is not getting worse because DC United lost their series against a Cotsa Rica club. MLS is not getting better because Montreal Impact won their series against a mexican club. Its the overall picture and long term trends that matters.

    • Yeah, I agree. If you’re going to use that kind of analysis, then Liga MX must be equally in decline since they only have one team in the semis.

      • impact should have won the game in mexico, but blew a 2 goal lead. still shows over two games that a liga mx side could not defeat the worst team MLS had to offer last season.

  3. Montreal had 7 foreign field players at the Pachucha away game and the midfield held its own. DC had 1 foreign field player againt Alajuelense and the midfield got constantly overrun. Not saying you shouldn’t play Americans, some are athletic and have great physical fitness. However, you need players that can hold possession in difficult away environments.

  4. Espindola was a turnover machine. I stopped counting at 10, in the first half. Pontius is useless and I don’t know why he started over Rolfe. Birnbaum needs to stop passing into the middle to move the ball out of defense. He kept doing the same thing last game and it continued this game.

    We are going to have a lot of problems getting the ball through the middle if there DCU try to add variety to their attack. Arnaud is not the answer to an attacking midfielder. Silva is out so Arnaud is the answer? Going to be a long season.

  5. no two ways about it, we were horrible. hopefully that ‘preseason’ thing is true; otherwise, we’re looking at a really long regular season. hell, we don’t even have our top two strikers for the start of the season.

  6. MLS teams in CCL are going to have to start thinking about doing what Montreal did this time, going down to their QF opponents’ countries way early. Any chance the QF round can be pushed back a few weeks?


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