You really couldn’t ask for a more fantastic evening of soccer in North America. Starting in Eastern Canada and going all the way across the country to Seattle, Washington, the three remaining MLS sides took to their tasks in the first leg of the CONCACAF Champions League Quarterfinals.
Over 45,000+ came to Rogers Centre and filled the home of the Toronto Blue Jays with a circle of Red. They were all ready to see their side try to get a major victory over the defending MLS Cup Champions and for the first twenty-five minutes, Toronto FC controlled the match.
On a corner kick in the 12th minute Torsten Frings sent the ball from the near side and found a body in the Galaxy area, and somehow the ball went to a wide open Ryan Johnson and he quickly sends it top shelf for the early lead.
Frings made more magic five minutes later sending a long bending ball towards a wide open Luis Silva. The LA native found the inside of the far post with a calm header and put the Canadian representatives ahead 2-0.
But the Galaxy never panicked, never got flustered, and found a way to get back into the match as Mike Magee was able to convert on a chance in the 29th minute. It was a fantastic cross from Sean Franklin that Stefan Frei misplayed. The cross found a wide open Magee who buries it.
For the rest of the match, both sides were fighting to get that next goal, trying to extend the lead or tie it all up. The Galaxy were fighting, clawing their way to get into position and nailing the net. Towards the end of regulation the Galaxy finally broke through with a corner on the far side.
David Beckham was trying to clear the confetti which had been thrown at him all game, but unfortunately this time a beer can was thrown at him as well. In disgust he took the corner and after a pinball sequence in the box, an unmarked Landon Donovan was able to convert the equalizer. Beckham screamed into the Toronto crowd to celebrate the goal. The match heads to Los Angeles for the return leg next week.
At Century Link Field in Seattle, the Sounders were hosting Santos Laguna of the Mexican Primera League. The team in Super Cyan was able to get a goal early and did it in style. Fredy Montero placed a fantastic cross to the far post in the 12th minute, and David Estrada ran onto it with a crushing header and beat Oswaldo Sanchez.
Santos Laguna would get their away goal in the 61st minute and it would be the former Galaxy and USL-Sounders forward Herculez Gomez who put it home. He got a nice ball from Marc Crosas and then a quick turn would put his side level. But before Laguna had much of a chance to celebrate, the Sounders responded.
Mauro Rosales earned a free kick near the far touch line in the 63rd minute. He sent the ball into the middle of the area and out of nowhere came Brad Evans. He leapt up and headed the ball out of Osvaldo Sanchez’ reach.
After some reckless challenges here and there, the referee blew the final whistle and it was all over. We had a fantastic 2-2 draw up in Toronto, and a solid 2-1 victory for Seattle at their home field. What will the second leg bring next week? Tune in and find out.