Atlanta United erases first-leg deficit to reach CCL quarterfinals

Atlanta United reached the CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinals. Curtis Compton/Atlanta Journal Constitution via AP

Atlanta United overturned a two-goal deficit, routing Costa Rica's Herediano 4-0 on Thursday to advance to the quarterfinals of the CONCACAF Champions League.

Thanks to two goals from reigning MLS Most Valuable Player Josef Martinez, Atlanta emerged with a 5-3 aggregate victory in Kennesaw, Georgia.

Martinez scored after just 47 seconds by turning in a Brek Shea cross, and Julian Gressel put Atlanta ahead on away goals eight minutes later with a shot inside the far post.

Shea fed Martinez again for Atlanta's third goal in the 63rd minute, before Leandro Gonzalez Pirez capped the scoring with seven minutes to play.

Next up, Atlanta United will square off over two legs with Liga MX's Monterrey, which closed out a 1-0 aggregate win over El Salvador's Alianza on Wednesday.

Later on Thursday, Sporting Kansas City booked its place in the quarterfinals by seeing off Toluca 2-0 for the MLS club's first-ever CCL victory in Mexico.

Sporting KC advanced 5-0 on aggregate after getting a goal from Gerso in the eighth minute and a 62nd-minute penalty from Krisztian Nemeth.

Waiting for Sporting in the quarterfinals is Independiente, the Panamanian side that stunned Toronto FC 5-1 on aggregate.

The other two quarterfinals will feature two MLS-Liga MX matchups as the Houston Dynamo face Tigres and the New York Red Bulls take on Santos Laguna.

The next round begins Tuesday, after the MLS clubs open their domestic season this weekend.

Information from Reuters was used in this report.