With the CONCACAF quarterfinals officially a rap, here are my initial reactions and comments on the LA Galaxy/Toronto FC game.
It was a nerve-wracking CONCACAF quarterfinal second leg, and The LA Galaxy targeted the weak Toronto defense play after play. However, this was a very sloppy match overall for both sides.
Toronto started with the same formation they used last Wednesday in Toronto for the first leg of the CONCACAF Quarter finals. With LA clinching a late 2-2 tie in Toronto, the pressure was on for a win.
Unfortunately, this game wasn't a big draw in Los Angeles, and the stadium wasn't anywhere near its capacity of 47,000 fans. This ambivalence set the tone for the match.
The game had a sluggish feel to it in the early minutes of the game. Toronto struck first, off the head of Ryan Johnson. LA quickly responded to the goal, challenging Toronto's very high defensive line play after play. Although a few questionable officiating calls went Toronto's way, the score remained 1-0 heading into the half.
Despite being narrowly beaten on every long ball the Galaxy chipped over the slow and outnumbered Toronto defense, this same pattern continued into the second half. Landon Donovan beat his man to the box and sent in a low cross across the 6 yard box toward Keane. Ty Harden was there to intercept the pass but directed it toward the goal. LA would tie the game with Harden's own goal.
A quick Toronto counter caught the laboring Galaxy napping midway through the second half. Another great play and ball from Ryan Johnson met a streaking Nick Soolsma who buried home the eventual game winner.
LA continued to press throughout the remainder of the game, but this time Toronto held on for the win, securing their spot in the CCL semifinals against Mexican team Santos Laguna, who demolished the Seattle Sounders today by a score of 6-1.
Man of the Match goes without a doubt to Milos Kocic who was outstanding in net for Toronto FC. He single-handedly kept the game alive with breakaway saves on both Buddle and Keane. His performance was breathtaking.
Congratulations go out to Toronto FC who have made history with this win. They become the first ever Canadian team to reach the semifinal round of this continental tournament.