Los Angeles Galaxy vs. Toronto FC: 6 Things We Learned

Jo-Ryan SalazarSenior Analyst IMarch 15, 2012

CARSON, CA - MARCH 14:  Edson Buddle #14 of the Los Angeles Galaxy is pursued by Ty Harden #20 of the Toronto FC for the ball in the second half during a CONCACAF Champions League game at The Home Depot Center on March 14, 2012 in Carson, California. Toronto FC defeated the Galaxy 2-1.  (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
Jeff Gross/Getty Images

If this was Europe, and this was a European competition, Los Angeles Galaxy manager Bruce Arena would be sacked after a horrendous 2-1 defeat to Toronto FC.

But, this is CONCACAF, so the bar is a little lower, and it's only the CONCACAF Champions League. However, results like this against teams that are not expected to contend for hardware in Major League Soccer raises a red flag.

Ladies and gentlemen, there is a possibility that it could be 2007 all over again, when winning was as foreign as Esperanto to the Galaxy. (Of course, they had Ruud Gullit at the time, but that's a different story.)

Here are six things we learned after this appalling/shocking/epic result at the Home Depot Center on Wednesday.

1. It is official, these Canadians can play!

I never thought I would live to see the day that a Canadian club would progress this far in the CONCACAF Champions League. Forget Isidro Metapan (assuming they hold off Pumas UNAM), Aron Winter's Toronto FC may come into the semifinals as a team of destiny.

Not only do they fly the flag for Canada—a nation whose only relevance to world football lies in its women—but they also fly the flag for MLS. As hinted earlier this week, Toronto needed to use speed and pace to take advantage of a Galaxy side that was not ready to show up on Wednesday, and they got the job done.

CARSON, CA - MARCH 14:  Ty Harden (L) #20 of the Toronto FC scores an own goal past Robbie Keane #7 of the Los Angeles Galaxy in the second half during a CONCACAF Champions League game at The Home Depot Center on March 14, 2012 in Carson, California. Toro
Jeff Gross/Getty Images

Watch your back, Sporting and Houston. Toronto FC have their eyes set on you.

2. Ryan Johnson, the revelation of the tournament for TFC

If there was ever one player who Toronto can rely on to deliver in the clutch, it's Ryan Johnson.

With two goals in as many CCL matches, no one should be surprised if Johnson is Jamaican Santos Laguna crazy in the midfield in the semifinals.

That is, unless you happen to support Santos...in which it's a different story altogether. For all the wrong reasons, at that.

3. The nightmare continues for Los Angeles

Have the Galaxy lost their identity in the same way the independent television networks in Britain lost theirs in the last decade or so?

Simply put, Arena's men have forgotten who they are. This isn't the team from 2011 that showed up in the first two matches of the year. What fans saw on Wednesday were shades of the team from '07.

CARSON, CA - MARCH 14:  Nick Soolsma (4th from left) #18 of the Toronto FC is congratulated by teammate Danny Koevermans (R) #14 after scoring a goal against the Los Angeles Galaxy in the second half during a CONCACAF Champions League game at The Home Dep
Jeff Gross/Getty Images

Now, it is often said that great teams have to take steps backwards in order to go forwards. But one can only wonder, how many more steps backward are the Galaxy going to take before they bother to record their first W of the year?

4. Juninho continues to struggle this year

To be honest, Juninho is not the only one struggling to return to form; I'm just using him as an example. But it is the most glaring example. This was not the Juninho who threw Morelia into disarray at Victoria Street last year.

Juninho's ball-handling was subpar, his passing was horrid, his touch was just flat out unbearable. I'm going to go on record and say that if Juninho doesn't have a good game, the Galaxy will not have a good game in return.

Just an awful performance from the Brazilian, and the Galaxy's exit was justified by this.

5. Toronto is facing Santos next

If you were paying attention to the earlier match on Wednesday, you will have noticed that Santos Laguna punched the Seattle Sounders out of the tournament with godly authority, 6-1, and 7-3 on aggregate. While it may be a daunting task for Toronto, based on this win, you can never count the Reds out of anything.

As I said before in this piece...these Canadians can play. Now, if only the men's national team can follow this example and pick up their weight come the next round of 2014 FIFA World Cup Qualifying...

6. If form follows, it will be a Santos-Monterrey final

I am placing this bold prediction right here. This dons two hats: a bold prediction and a thing we learned. Here it goes.

If form follows in this edition of the tournament, it will be a Santos Laguna-CF Monterrey final.

Of course, the people who follow Toronto, Pumas or Metapan may have something to say about that, but both Santoa and Monterrey have been dominant in their ties. It should not be a surprise that both sides will potentially meet for all the marbles and a ticket to the FIFA 2012 Club World Cup.


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