It was a clean sweep for Major League Soccer in the first week of group stage action in the CONCACAF Champions League this past week. Solid performances from Seattle and Los Angeles, with a crazy win by Colorado while FC Dallas made history down in Mexico. Now could the Canadian end continue that fantastic momentum to finish off the week?
It was in Panama where Toronto FC was looking for some positives after another horrible league season to try and lift their confidence and get some positive results in international cup competition. Facing Tauro FC, you felt it was going to be a tough match-up for the Reds.
But it all started very positive for TFC as Ryan Johnson got the side on the scoreboard first. In the twenty-first minute he timed his run and got by the defender. On a bounce Johnson smashed the ball past the keeper and put Toronto ahead. The defender was looking to the referee for a foul as he thought he was bumped. No call came and the goal stood.
Three minutes later it was Julian DeGuzman that gave the Canadian side the two goal lead as he got the ball and from 21 yards out smacked a laser that the keeper had no idea what was coming. Terrible defense by Tauro FC and a terrible job by Anzola who just got a touch on the ball, but it wasn’t enough.
After making two changes within the 33rd minute of the first half by Tauro FC, it looked like they were going to get back into the match. Tauro attacked with conviction but their chances weren’t threatening enough.
The first goal for Tauro FC didn’t come ’til the referee called for a penalty in the 73rd minute as the Toronto defender made the tackle in the area. It took a couple of minutes for Tauro to take their spot kick as the ref demanded that Toronto assistant coach Bob de Klerk leave the playing field.
Several minutes before the penalty was awarded, de Klerk was seen arguing about something to the referee on a call or a non call and it looked like de Klerk was still yapping off camera, so the ref pointed and ejected de Klerk. But in the 76th minute, Luis Moreno converted the spot kick and cut the deficit to one.
With five minutes of second half stoppage time Tauro FC couldn’t find the late equalizer and Toronto FC held on to get their first win of the 2011-12 CONCACAF Champions League. For the first time in the history of MLS, five sides entered the Champions League and all five got victories either at home or on the road.
MLS Commissioner Don Garber stressed that the league and its clubs are going to be serious in this competition and so far it’s a clean sweep in the first week of action.