Philadelphia and Toronto Advance in CONCACAF Champions League Play

Technically the 2021 MLS season doesn't start until Friday, but it has already been a great start to the season for the league.

Toronto FC and Philadelphia Union both won on Wednesday night, meaning the league will have at least four, and very likely five teams in the CONCACAF Champions League quarter-finals.

The Toronto FC win was the bigger surprise and a pleasant one as they upset Liga MX side Club Leon 2-1 to advance on 3-2 aggregate. Not only could the Reds not play at home in Toronto, but they were also without stars Jozy Altidore and Alejandro Pozuelo.

The game was originally scheduled to be played in Kissimmee, Florida but CONCACAF objected to the stadium, which will be TFC's temporary home in MLS this season. The game was moved earlier in the day to the Wide World of Sports complex in Orlando.

Patrick Mullins scored in the 55th minute, and Justin Morrow gave Toronto a 2-0 lead in the 71st minute. Alex Bono made eight saves, but Club Leon did get a lifeline with a goal in the 80th minute. Toronto held on despite a late barrage on goal and advanced to face Mexico's superpower Cruz Azul in the quarter-finals.

With new coach Chris Armas in charge, Toronto opens the MLS season Saturday with the Canadian Classique against CF Montreal. The Reds are 10/11 while a draw is 5/2, and Montreal is 13/5. The game will be played at DRV PNK Stadium in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Union blow out Saprissa

Holding a 1-0 advantage from the first leg in Costa Rica, Philadelphia Union put the hammer down on Deportivo Saprissa with a 4-0 win on Wednesday. The win moves the Union into the quarter-finals against Atlanta United, assuring at least one MLS team will make the CONCACAF Champions League semi-finals.

Jamiro Monteiro made it 1-0 with a penalty kick in the 47th minute. Four minutes later, he assisted as Kasper Przybylko doubled the lead. Anthony Fortuna, who drew the penalty for the first goal, made it 3-0 in the 54th minute giving the Union three goals in seven minutes.

The game stayed 3-0 for the next half hour before Monteiro finished off his hat trick in the final minute of the game.

The Union are making their CCL debut after winning the Supporters' Shield in 2020. They open the 2021 MLS season at defending champion Columbus Crew Sunday afternoon and are 3/1, while the Crew are 5/6.

Speaking of the Crew, they have a 4-0 advantage on Real Esteli before Thursday's CCL second leg in the round of 16. If they advance as expected, MLS will have five of the eight teams in the quarter-finals, with the other three being Mexican sides.

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