The CONCACAF quarterfinals began last Wednesday when LA Galaxy clashed with Toronto FC at the Rogers Centre.
I was lucky enough to be at attendance for this star-studded game. Despite being played on artificial turf and being indoors, this game had everything a fan from either team could have hoped for.
It was announced that over 47, 000 people were at attendance for this match. The stadium was jumping, enthusiastic and ready for greatness.
Toronto, the underdogs of the match despite being at home, sent the home fans into a frenzy early with an early strike off a corner kick. A fortunate bounce ended with the ball on Ryan Johnson's foot, which he quickly sent in behind the keeper to give Toronto an early lead in the 12' of play. The crowd erupted and the sound was deafening.
Just five minutes later, the fans exploded again. A rookie midfielder landed his head on a Torsten Frings cross just inside the top of the 18-yard box. He placed his header beautifully just inside the goalpost to put Toronto up by two early. This goal was absolutely beautiful, if you haven't already seen it you must watch it.
Toronto was up two early and in control of the match. However, a goaltending error changed the course of the match. In the 29' Mike Magee was gifted a goal after a Donovan cross was slapped down back into play and onto the foot of Magee by Stefan Frei. Magee had the open net and put LA on the board silencing the Toronto faithful. The score remained 2-1 heading into half.
The second half saw a few changes. Beckham began to drop back deeper into defense, as he distributed the ball throughout the pitch. This second half also got a bit scrappy, with several players picking up knocks. There were chances at both ends, however, the tying goal would be earned very late to spoil the win for Toronto.
After being completely covered with streamers at every corner flag, Beckham would find more than just streamers thrown at him on this occasion. Two beer cans were thrown in Beckham's direction as he set himself up for the corner that would crush Toronto's night.
After voicing his displeasure, Beckham sent in a kick that created a scramble in the Toronto box. Donovan found his foot on the ball and sent it in behind Frei, tying the game for the Galaxy. LA players rushed the scene of the accident and while Beckham scolded the crowd. Donovan blew kisses to the Toronto fans.
This was a very exciting contest that Toronto, by all rights, should have one. Each LA goal was a gift of poor work in the box. Despite the result, the home crowd went home happy earning a draw and having a chance of continuing in this tournament with a win (or tie if more than 2 goals are scored) in Las Angeles.
*The CONCACAF officiating was absolutely horrendous in this match, I believe both teams and fans will agree to that.