Patrick Pemberton, shown above playing for Costa Rica in a 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup game against Honduras, wants to win the 2013-14 CONCACAF Champions League with Alajuelense. (Photo: Mexsport)
ALAJUELA, Costa Rica – On Monday, Alajuelense will resume its quest for the CONCACAF Champions League title, when Panama’s Arabe Unido visits the Estadio Alejandro Morera Soto Scotiabank for the first leg of their quarterfinal series.
The Manudos have won a pair of the CONCACAF club championships (1986, 2004), but are looking for more international silverware.
Goalkeeper Patrick Pemberton, one of the Costa Rican power’s veteran players, told CONCACAF.com that he and his teammates are aiming to bring a third confederation crown to the club and play in the FIFA Club World Cup.
“We want to win it again to be able to go to the Club World Cup, that is something important for all the members of the team,” said Pemberton. “It would be historic for a footballer, you would remain in the history of the club. And for the fans it would be the ultimate that your club is competing in a Club World Cup…that it is among the best in the world, so in every sense it would be a proud thing for all the Alajuelense fans.”
Pemberton asserts that unity within the squad may be the determining element in becoming the champion.
“The important factor for us is the group that we have,” the 31-year-old expressed. “I feel that if we have unity, both on and off the field, that’s what is going to help us achieve our goal.”
The netminder has confidence in the Alajuelense back line, which conceded only one goal in the CCL’s group stage, but also believes that capitalizing on scoring opportunities against Arabe will be essential.
“I feel that the strength is the defense,” analyzed Pemberton, who was the starting goalkeeper in Costa Rica’s run to the 2013 UNCAF Copa Centroamericana championship. “I think that we are very solid, so that provides calm to the teammates in the midfield and offense that they can do things well. That is an important factor for us.
“Scoring chances in the matches will be few so we have to be strong at the moment in front of goal, but I think they are going to have the confidence and the composure to earn the goals that are available to us.”
The trip to the CCL quarterfinals will be Alajuelense’s first since the tournament switched to a new format and name more than five years ago, while Arabe advanced to the same stage in the 2009-10 edition.