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CCL Rewind: Atlanta United outlasts Alajuelense, Timbers tie Club Marathon


Gabriel Heinze’s first competitive match in charge of Atlanta United ended in winning fashion on Tuesday night with the club taking a major step towards advancing in the CONCACAF Champions League.

Ezequiel Barco scored the lone goal for the Five Stripes against Costa Rican hosts LD Alajuelense in a 1-0 victory. Back-up goalkeeper Rocco Rios-Novo made seven saves in his first team debut following Brad Guzan’s sending off, playing a key role in the win as well.

The Five Stripes had the better of the first-half opportunities with Barco and Emerson Hyndman having shots saved by Leonel Moreira. Guzan was only troubled once by Johan Venegas in the opening half, but the veteran goalkeeper was sent off in the 43rd minute after bringing down Marcel Hernandez Campanioni outside of the box.

Jose Salvatierra was whistled for handball early in the second-half, allowing Barco the opportunity to step up and score his first goal of the season from the penalty spot.

Rios stole the show after the Five Stripes took the lead, denying Adrian Martinez on four different shot attempts while also repelling Hernandez’s late strike in the 92nd minute.

The Eastern Conference club would hang on for an important road victory heading into next week’s second leg at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Josef Martinez returned to the pitch as well for the Five Stripes and could be fit to start next week’s second leg after playing the final 24 minutes tonight.

Club Marathon 2 – Portland Timbers 2

The Portland Timbers did enough to earn a 2-2 draw against Club Marathon on Tuesday night, but will be a bit disappointed to see two separate leads slip away on the road.

Overall it was a strong debut though for Giovanni Savarese’s men in their first competitive match of the new season. Felipe Mora broke the deadlock in the 35th minute, but the Timbers would see the Honduran hosts hit back before halftime.

Brayan Castillo equalized in the 39th minute, tapping home a cross from Edwin Solano past Steve Clark.

Diego Valeri wasn’t credited with the eventual go-ahead goal for the Timbers in the 59th minute, but he did play a part in Portland taking a 2-1 advantage. His long-range shot was repelled off the post by Denovan Torres, but the ball ricocheted in off the goalkeeper’s back for an own goal.

Marathon would hit back a second time to give themselves a positive chance ahead of next week’s trip to Providence Park. Marlon Ramirez hit a low shot across the 16-yard box which beat Clark to the bottom-left corner.

Clark finished with two saves for the Timbers while Torres made three for the hosts.


  1. Of the two MLS teams I thought Atlanta looked better when they had all 11 of course. The commentators were hard on Guzan for his red card, but I think he did the best thing. He tried to deny the attacker, but he was put in a terrible spot by his defense. If he didn’t come out the attacker would have been one on one with a goal very likely. By meeting him outside the box Guzan avoided giving up the penalty kick. Portland’s draw was disappointing because they dominated the first half, missed many chances, and then had a real defensive breakdown on the first Marathon goal. Still, they got 2 away goals, so they should move on after playing in Portland next week.


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