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Pontius, DC United represent lone U.S. team left in CONCACAF Champions League

DC United v Real Salt Lake - 2013 U.S. Open Cup Final

SANDY, UT - OCTOBER 01: Chris Pontius #13 of D.C. United guides the ball downfield against Real Salt Lake during the 2013 U.S. Open Cup Final at Rio Tinto Stadium October 1, 2013 in Sandy, Utah. (Photo by Gene Sweeney Jr/Getty Images)

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Costa Rica is the site for the United States’ last hope for its first CONCACAF Champions League title, as No. 1 seed DC United visits Alajuelense for leg one of its quarterfinal matchup.

Aside from a run of three finalists and two winners from 1997-98, the Champions Cup/Champions League has been a rough go for MLS sides, with semifinal appearances limited and the lone other finalist Real Salt Lake in 2011.

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Montreal has an away goals advantage in its tie after Tuesday’s first leg, as MLS sides look to make their presence felt further, but DC is the only U.S. club remaining in the tournament after Portland and Sporting KC finished second in their groups.

DC has been solid this CCL season, unbeaten in a group stage where they allowed just one goal. Black-and-Red veteran Chris Pontius isn’t expecting free-flowing soccer on Thursday night due to Alajuelense’s turf.


CP: It’s turf. It’s bouncy. It won’t play the prettiest soccer. But both teams have to deal with it and I think we can still manage the game well.

Kickoff is at 8pm ET, with the return leg in DC on Wednesday.

Follow @NicholasMendola