Toronto FC's Dwayne de Rosario (R) celebrates a goal with teammate Luian De Guzman (C), as teammate Chad Barrett runs past, during their ONCACAF Champions League soccer match against C D Motagua in Tegucigapa August 3, 2010. REUTERS/Edgard Garrido (HONDURAS - Tags: SPORT SOCCER)

Motagua 2 Toronto 2 (Toronto advances 3-2 on aggregate)

Metapán 1 Seattle 1 (Seattle advances 2-1 on aggregate)

With a bar set low enough that even a stumbling step might clear it, it wouldn't have taken much for MLS to have its best collective night ever in the CONCACAF Champions League. By simply taking care of business, earning draws in the difficult environs of Central America, and proceeding to the groups stages as a result, Seattle and Toronto leaped over the bar. In that four hour span, the two sides gave MLS fans a reason to hope that noise will be made in the tournament this time around.

Win at home, draw on the road; that formula guarantees success in a two-legged series, and both club followed it perfectly. Neither dominated. Goals were at a premium, with both taking slim margins into the return legs in Honduras and El Salvador respectively. Both fell behind early, had the aggregate leveled, and needed a response to ensure advancement. Both found ways to put the ball in the net, through a perfect Maicon Santos pass and cool DeRo finish followed by a lucky bounce for Chad Barrett and a well-taken breakaway in Toronto's case, and a moment of brilliance on a long-range header from new signing Alvaro Fernandez in Seattle's.

Considering the travails faced by each team, a draining travel ordeal for Toronto and a torrential downpour for Seattle, their accomplishments shouldn't be discounted. We can dismiss their wins as what MLS teams should do, but recent history suggests it's okay to be pleased. MLS teams fail too often in Central America for these two draws to be swept aside as simply meeting expectations. Past results didn't match with a perceived advantage in quality. A bit of perspective too easily sounds like easy excuses for anyone to be comfortable; nevertheless, last night was a feather in the league's cap and a step forward in its Champions League efforts.

And then we have the Galaxy, set to face the Islanders tonight in Bayamon. LA's hole is too deeply dug for me to think they have a shot of climbing out, but they do have a chance to earn a bit of respect with a win. Hopes naturally fell to what seemed to be the best team in the league, and while I'm still disappointed with how they opened last week, Seattle and Toronto winning is a salve. As long at the Galaxy don't embarrass themselves tonight (then again, I'm not sure it matters), MLS-backers can move forward feeling good about two out of three getting through and four total clubs representing the league in the group stages.

I know not every MLS fan is happy today (rival fans and haters of the two teams would probably have preferred failure), but those of us that can't help but root for any of our teams in international play have reason to smile. Until the next step is made or a team (or teams) fail in group play, that's enough.

It's just too bad about the Galaxy.

Toronto goes into Group A with Cruz Azu (MEX), Real Salt Lake (USA), and Árabe Unido (PAN).

Seattle goes into Group C with Monterrey(MEX), Saprissa (CRC), and the winner of Tauro (PAN) v. Marathón (HON)

Group matches start August 17th.

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