MLS clubs make promising start in the CONCACAF Champions League

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After five games of the new CONCACAF Champions League campaign, Major League Soccer sides are so far unbeaten.

The Montreal Impact's second consecutive success against Salvadoran outfit FAS concluded a successful gameweek for clubs from Canada and the United States, following wins for the Portland Timbers and DC United and an away draw for Sporting Kansas City.

Tougher tests remain

While it would be easy to get carried away at this point, much tougher tests lie ahead.

Even with six points from two matches and sitting pretty at the top of Group 3, the Impact remain unlikely to progress. Fortunately for North American followers, this is due to the presence of New Jersey's New York Red Bulls, who have yet to appear in the tournament this year.

Montreal may have the advantage of having already placed two victories on the board, but they have the worst record in the MLS this season, and the Red Bulls will be confident of overcoming their opponents from north of the border.

The pair drew at Saputo Stadium in April, a result that could be good enough again for the current holders of the Supporters' Shield, while a second league meeting this weekend provides an ideal dress rehearsal.

Timbers in high spirits

The Timbers appear best-placed to advance, having left Guyana in buoyant mood after crushing Alpha United 4-1 on their own turf.

In their first year in the competition, Portland must still face Honduras' most successful club Olimpia, and though the trip to Central America will almost certainly be Group 5's crunch clash, Caleb Porter can boast enough depth and quality in his squad to consider them favourites.

Despite an opening win, proceedings aren't quite so straight-forward for DCU. At their own RFK Stadium, the 1-0 triumph over Jamaica's Waterhouse was every bit as tight as the score-line suggests, and the Kingstonians could make a decent case for being the better team.

Of course, winning without playing well is supposedly the sign of champions, but with the Fire-House having already overcome Panamanian side Tauro away from home, they look capable of punishing any United slip-up.

Strong KC

Sporting KC look the strongest of the MLS representatives, but that wasn't evident in their stalemate with Real Esteli. While two home draws will almost certainly rule the Nicaraguans out, failure to take all three points is a significant disappointment as major threat Saprissa have got away with their imperfection.

A jaunt south to Costa Rica is a daunting prospect, and the Wizards must now return with a positive result.

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All of this difficulty, and the dangers of Liga MX are yet to come. The Mexicans have provided 30 winners in previous years, while no MLS franchise has been successful since the tournament's rebranding in 2008.

Only a fool would bet against the finest of the States' elite division coming unstuck in Pachuca, Mexico City or Leon, but it's time for the league to prove its status.

Though David Villa, Kaka and Frank Lampard may now be on-board, CONCACAF must be conquered before attentions can turn to the rest of the world.

They've made a promising start.

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D.C. United
Sporting Kansas City
Portland Timbers

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