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Toronto FC 2012 Season Update  

Toronto advance to Champions League semi  finals Toronto FC will play Santos Laguna of Mexico in the semi final of the CONCACAF Champions League (CCL) after defeating LA Galaxy 2-1 at the Home Depot Centre. TFC advanced 4-3 on aggregate after the teams played to a 2-2 draw at the Roger Centre in Toronto last Wednesday.  Ryan Johnson opened the game scoring for a second time in the series to give Toronto the lead in the 34th minute while Nick Soolsma scored the winner in the 67th minute to give Toronto the win. Toronto FC became the first Canadian team to reach the CONCACAF Champions League semi final round.



Toronto FC allows win to slip away against Galaxy


The Champions League quarter final clash between Toronto FC and LA Galaxy was played before a sold out crowd of 47,658 at Rogers Centre, in downtown Toronto on Wednesday. It was an electrifying atmosphere and the Reds responded with an early goal in the 12th minute of play to get the already pumped up crowd going.  


Ryan Johnson released a crashing left footed roofer as the finishing touches to a rebound from a melee in front of the Galaxy goalmouth. Johnson jump-kicked the corner flag as part of his goal celebration before being mobbed by his teammates.


The crowd was hardly settled from Johnsonís goal when Luis Silva doubled Toronto FC's lead in the 18th minute. Silva goal was from a right side cross by Torten Frings which he redirected with his head into the far post. The goal was one of those which goalkeeper Josh Saunders would have liked to have back after diving late and over the ball on a clear header. 


The majority of TFC fans were overjoyed and I'm sure also a bit surprised. No one (in their right mind) catered for Toronto to be leading the Galaxy 2-0 with less than a half of the match played. I thought the Reds would have won going into the match but the they took their feet off the pedal and it gave Galaxy the room in which they can operate effectively.


The added space was deadly since LA was already having a lot of offensive success down their left side from the opening whistle and that had nothing to do with a few unforced errors in TFCís defense in the early part of the match. Surprisingly no noticeable adjustment was made to solidify TFC soft spot.


Los Angeles players were reaching the edge of Toronto FC's 18 yard line with options to dribble or pass, but to the right side defenders Richard Eckersley and Ty Harden's credit they did not allow a clear shot to be taken. However, it was just a matter of time before LA broke the shutout.


Needless to say Mike Magee scored in the 28th minute to cut the Reds lead in half and the score remained unchanged to the half. It is safe to say that defensive coverage was the main topic of conversation in the dressing rooms since both teams scored rather easy in the first half.


To the coaches credit both teams played close to their best defensively in the second half but the trade-off seemed to be a disinterested in scoring. Maybe Coach Bruce Arena did not want to give up early goals like the start of the game and on the other hand Coach Aron Winter was pleased with the Reds lead, either way, most of the second half game was played in the center of the field. 


As a result Toronto FC supporters provided most of the entertainment in the second half. Every time David Beckham went to take a corner kick, the fans would throw streamers in an attempt to break his concentration. Other than the supporters, the Galaxy began to take control of the midfield. In the last 10 minutes of the game David Beckham and Landon Donovan were creating space and getting most of the touches on the ball and it seemed like Toronto had resigned to hold on for time and time was not on their side on this day.


Beckham was bending it on every set play and that was a little more than Toronto fans would have liked since Galaxy finished with an advantage of 11 to Toronto's 2 in free kicks and 9 to 6 in corner kicks. Toronto FC and goalkeeper Stephan Frei got a heavy dosage of in-swingers and out-swingers in the late going until Captain Landon Donovan found a way to pounce on a loose ball from in close to tie the game 2-2.


It was a game that the home team was in the best position to win and should have won. But Toronto FC has beaten FC Dallas in Dallas to reach the quarter finals and can beat the Galaxy in Los Angeles next Wednesday in the rematch, providing that they can maintain the lead for the full 90 minutes.


















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