Portland Timbers and Atlanta United advance in CONCACAF Champions League

On the eve of kickoff in Major League Soccer, two teams punched their tickets into the CONCACAF Champions League quarter-finals on Monday night.

Atlanta United beat LD Alajuelense 1-0, and Portland Timbers stomped Marathon 5-0 in second leg games to advance.

Atlanta won their leg in Costa Rica 1-0 last week, and they held Alajuelense in check on Monday back at home. Jurgen Damm scored in stoppage time to cap the victory and give the Five Stripes and new manager Gabriel Heinze a pair of 1-0 wins.

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Atlanta could face another MLS side in the quarterfinals as Philadelphia Union take a 1-0 lead into their home leg against Saprissa this week. The Five Stripes also welcomed striker Josef Martinez back to the lineup as a starter for the first time in over a year as he recovers from knee surgery.

Atlanta United opens their MLS season on Saturday in Florida against Orlando City SC. The Lions are 1.04/1, with Atlanta at 2.5/1.

Timbers Advance on Chara Hat Trick

The Portland Timbers dominated CD Marathon at Providence Park on Monday night with a 5-0 win. Yimmi Chara scored a hat trick, with his first goal coming in the 18th minute. He scored again in the 36th minute and completed the hat trick with a goal in the 78th minute.

The two other Timbers' goals came from Diego Valeri in the 66th minute and Marvin Loria in the 88th. Portland and Marathon drew 2-2 in the first leg in Honduras last week.

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Portland advances to the CCL quarterfinals, where they will face either Club America or Olimpia. Club America won the first leg 2-1 on the road and will host Olimpia on Wednesday.

The Timbers open the MLS season on Sunday night against Vancouver as -139 favorites. The Whitecaps, who are playing home games in Utah to start the season, are 3.5/1, and a draw is 2.85/1.

Three Other Teams Still Alive

There could be as many as five MLS teams in the quarterfinals of the CONCACAF Champions League. The only possible quarterfinal matchup between MLS teams is the Atlanta United/Philadelphia Union matchup.

Defending MLS Cup champions, Columbus Crew, won the first leg in Honduras 4-0 last week and will host Real Esteli in the second leg on Thursday. The Crew are likely to face Mexican side Monterrey in the quarterfinals the first week of May.

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Meanwhile, Toronto FC drew 1-1 in Mexico against Club Leon in the first leg. Since they cannot play in Canada, they will host Leon in central Florida on Wednesday night with an away goal already in hand. Toronto is 5.5/1, with Club Leon at 0.49/1 and a draw at 3.2/1.

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