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Shocking CCL QF Conclusion – Seattle Trounced, Galaxy Upset

There are always two sides to every story – in this case, with the knockout stages of the CONCACAF Champions League, there are two stories inside both legs. And in the case of two of Major League Soccer’s perennial strongest finishers, there were no storybook endings.

Seattle 3-7 Santos Laguna

After a solid 2-1 first leg victory at Century Link Field, the Seattle Sounders made the trip down to face their opponents at the Corona Stadium near Torréon. Early on, the Sounders were unlucky to have two close-range shots saved by Santos goalkeeper Oswaldo Sanchez. But in the 8th minute, the entire complexion of the Quarterfinal changed starkly.

The reversal happened in the course of two minutes, as the Sounders’ lead turned into a deficit. The aggregate score was squared by Christian Suarez, who benefited from soft defending outside the area that enabled him to find some daylight. He sent a blast from just outside the eighteen barely out of the reach of Michael Gspurning and into the net. Two minutes later Oribe Peralta, who was being held back by Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, spun and shot the ball with ease for a three-to-two aggregate lead.

There was a glimmer of hope for Seattle, as Alvaro Fernandez scored with a header in the 37th minute. It was Fredy Montero with a great cross from the far side of the field, which eluded the Santos defender and fell to Fernandez for the cool finish. The goal equalized the aggregate score as well as the away goals as they entered the locker room.

But Santos responded four minutes inside the start of the second half. The American international Herculez Gomez gave his side the spark they needed to win the match. He ripped a hard shot in the 49th minute to put Santos ahead for good, and got his second of the game in the 68th. Gomez heading the ball past Gspurning off a cross from Peralta.

Suarez got his second of the match in the 76th minute while Carlos Ochoa ended the slaughter with his goal in the 81st minute. But by the time those two goals happened, the result was in little doubt. Six goals in the second leg for Santos Laguna spelled the end to Seattle’s quest in the competition.

Toronto F.C. 4-3 Los Angeles Galaxy

A match-up of Major League Soccer clubs, the Los Angeles Galaxy fell victim to some troubling defensive lapses, as well as a couple of questionable calls from the referees, as Toronto F.C. found their way through in front of a limited crowd at the Home Depot Center.

It was Ryan Johnson and Nick Soolsma that teamed up for both goals that got the Reds into the Semifinals. The first was a solid cross from Soolsma into the Galaxy area in the 34th minute, and Johnson leapt in the air to head the ball in past Josh Saunders.

Throughout the first half though the Galaxy were more dangerous, but Toronto’s high line put a number of Galaxy runs offside. Mike Magee had a couple of opportunities go against him, one where his shot was neutralized by Toronto keeper Milos Kocic, the other incorrectly called offside by the assistant.

After the break, there was a moment where everyone thought the Galaxy would finally assert themselves in the tie. In the 55th minute, Ty Harden tried to prevent a Landon Donovan cross to Robbie Keane. Harden instead deflected the ball into his own net. But just when you thought the MLS Cup Champions were primed to find that pivotal goal, it was actually the Canadian side who created the magic.

Johnson and Soolsma connected again in the 67th minute for that dramatic dagger. Johnson was on the near side of the field. He crossed the ball into the area, and Soolsma came out of nowhere and smashed it past Saunders for the aggregate lead.

History has been made by Toronto, a team that has never finished in the Top 10 in the MLS standings – and thus never made the Playoffs – since their inception. If this result was any indication, that might just change in 2012. Aron Winter’s side has also eclipsed the 2008-09 Montreal Impact as the Canadian team making the deepest run in the Champions League. The Impact, then a USSF Division 2 club, qualified for the Quarterfinals that season. They bowed out in that round to – you guessed it – Santos Laguna.

And that’s who is next for Toronto FC. Los Guerreros are an interesting squad in their own right for many in the U.S., as Gomez continues to impress on his current scoring rampage as he tries to impress USMNT coach Jurgen Klinsmann. Toronto has a lot of European experience in their team, but will they have enough talent to overcome Santos’ firepower? As for Los Angeles and Seattle, they’ll need to shake off the disappointment and get back to work towards their league schedule.

34 Responses to Shocking CCL QF Conclusion – Seattle Trounced, Galaxy Upset

  1. Robert says:

    Charles, SANTOOOOOOOS LAGUNA! See what happens when you send a
    salary handicapped team into an international competition?! You get
    your ass handed to you

    • Heimdall says:

      Not so. All teams are salary handicapped which is dependent on
      budgetary restraints set upon by the owner(s) of the club.
      Surpassing a salary budget does happen but carries risk to the team
      which is dependent on the degree of the salary increase and who the
      creditor is. If it is a sugar daddy like Chelsea’s owner, then no
      big deal as he’ll see this as a capital investment, but if it is an
      institution who strictly views it as a loan, then the team must
      tread carefully, for in the long run, this type of spending is
      unsustainable and could harm the club in the future, again,
      depending on the degree of this and other debts in this nature that
      are still outstanding.

      • Robert says:

        Dude, you have no idea what your talking about. Your confusing a
        lot of subjects and topics and trying to argue that all teams have
        a salary cap. Yes, all clubs have a salary budget but what
        separates the World from MLS is that if a team increases revenue it
        can increase its salary expense unlike the Sounders/Timbers who
        have been very successful but they have to subsidize weaker
        franchises so they don’t fold. Hell, a club can take out a massive
        loan to make a run for champions league spot but if the club fails
        only the club fails and not the entire league. See Leeds United,
        New Castle United, West Ham, Sheffield Wednesday, Blackpool, Juarez
        Indios (who failed but guess what Primera is still in play).

        • Heimdall says:

          I’m not confusing anything and I’m not trying to argue all teams
          have a salary cap. Only a league can establish a salary cap. I’m
          stating that a salary budget is a form of a salary handicap. Even
          though it is self-imposed, is still a salary handicap. Which teams
          have been in danger of folding since contraction? I’m guessing it
          would have to be between contraction to before ChivasLA and Salt
          Lake were given franchises because the league wouldn’t add teams if
          the thought of folding teams was still an issue and the league has
          been even more stable since Toronto joined. I wouldn’t count DC
          United as a danger to folding since it is established that playing
          anywhere where the team doesn’t receive ancillary revenue is a
          money loser for the league at this point. For as much as people
          scoff at Dallas off the field, they’ve reported a profit because of
          their revenue streams. It is fortunate for those leagues in Mexico
          and England that the financial problems from those clubs you
          mentioned have equal or near equal replacements for them.

        • Yo are right on Robert! Not only the league is still there, but
          those clubs were relegated, they did not disappear !

    • Charles says:

      Well if anyone would know you would know, Tijuana finished quite a
      ways back in the Apertura.

      • Robert says:

        Yup, but at least my club isn’t tarping off seats and subsidizing
        weaker teams.

        • Heimdall says:

          You’re not from here, but I have to say, Seahawks Stadium is
          centrally located. The alternative to tarping seats is building a
          $60-$100M stadium that seats in the low 20K-23K range in the
          suburbs or build a redundant exact stadium right next to Seahawks
          Stadium/Safeco Field that would cost much more. There is no more
          demand for tickets. Last week, 300 were available for opening day.
          So considering that, it is a no brainer. Obligations to the league
          such as giving up 30% of ticket revenue is simply the cost of doing
          business. Adrian H is a smart guy. If the numbers were better in D2
          with its independent teams and lack of a salary cap, the Sounders
          would have stuck around and be a NASL (I miss playing PR Islanders)
          team right now. But with the M’s, the Seahawks and the Huskies, he
          knew that Seattle was a great D2 (Miami/SF/SD teams gone and
          Atlanta disappeared for a while) city as a top 20 (which usually
          has MLB as competition) market and a good D2 city in general, but
          could be an excellent D1 city.

  2. Alex says:

    Parity restricted club vs non parity restricted club. It’s a no
    brainer

    • Roger 4 Pro/Rel says:

      Single entity babe! where your franchise can not be relegated to a
      lower level, neither win at a higher one!

  3. CTBlues says:

    The Galaxy fans should be ashamed of themselves with only 7,500
    people showing up to a knock out game like that.

    • Heimdall says:

      I think the Gals are limited to that number on certain school
      nights. This is finals week after all.

    • Ramiro says:

      Because HDC is on school property, LA has an agreement with CSU
      Dominguez Hills to limit weekday games to 7,500 to avoid congested
      parking lots and traffic for night-school, etc.. Last year in the
      weekday play-off game against NYRB, LA did open the entire lower
      bowl and people parked at off-site locations and shuttles were
      provided. No word on whether they tried this or not.

    • CTBlues says:

      Wow that’s an even bigger joke. Do you think that would be even
      allowed for a college basketball or football game, I highly doubt
      it.

      • Robert says:

        Yah don’t weekday basketball games take place?

        • Ramiro says:

          I think there’s also something in the agreement about noise
          complaint. And honestly, I doubt CSU DH has large crowds for their
          bball games and obviously the noise level isn’t the same as coming
          from HDC.

    • Ben says:

      I agree, what a joke, march madness is so boring

  4. Heimdall says:

    SL was clinical with the counters in the 2nd half and the soft
    goals allowed by the Sounders in the first half didn’t help when
    the margin of error for Seattle was so low to begin with. Still,
    the Sounders were down a goal at half and chose to play
    aggressively, but the defenders continued to play terribly (and
    frankly, were worn out at the end) and the mids didn’t win enough
    balls back. The team needed goals and a less confident manager
    wouldn’t have pushed the envelope. My flame for this tournament has
    been extinguished. Oh well, there’s always this year. LA dug their
    own grave. LA was the better team yesterday, but if Juninho wasn’t
    the only person spared from the SL game, then they would have been
    even stronger, which could have been the difference. But I guess
    Arena thought he was playing a NASL team in the USOC or something.
    Toronto did get the goals they needed so they move on.

  5. Roger 4 Pro/Rel says:

    Got an idea! in orther for MLS franchises to be suscessful at the
    international level, our soccer leaders should create a World
    Franchise Club World Cup!…………………..the down part is
    that there would be only 3 franchises ( Corea, Australia and US)
    …………………………………….but look at the bright
    side, we will consistently make the semifinals!

  6. Robert says:

    I just love how Charles has been REAL quiet.

    • Charles says:

      yeah, probably a coincidence that the NCAA tourney is on.

      • Robert says:

        Funny how you don’t support Promotion/Relegation for MLS but you
        are watching a tournament which thrives on that very foundation.
        Isn’t it fun to watch a no name school upset a big name school?

        • Charles says:

          I hear ya. Wanna here something funny. I ALWAYS ( except against
          Washington ) root for the underdogs……but before you start
          getting excited it is not worth following once it is WonItfFveTimes
          U vs Powerhouse College……………..that doesn’t even get me to
          the preseason in soccer unless you are watching a real league like
          MLS…………………ps. in soccer I root for Man U and Barca. I
          want to see how long people follow leagues where there is no chance
          for their team to win. It can’t be forever. Or do Tijunana fans
          just give up after a while, but follow the league in a zombie state
          ?

          • Robert says:

            Well, it seems like people have already lost interest in MLS even
            though theoretically, every team has a chance to win.

        • Heimdall says:

          Not entirely applicable. Tournament is closed only to NCAA D1
          schools. Programs in lesser divisions (NCAA D2/D3/NAIA have their
          own title to win. Also, this is a nation that is a basketball
          watching nation for its professional teams and NCAA D1 schools and
          we are not there yet for club soccer. Lastly, interest is
          heightened due to affiliation to colleges whether one is an alumni
          or whether it is location or any other reason admiration exists for
          the school. The difference in a final four run between a school’s
          hoops program compared to its soccer program to school glory and
          finances is too extreme. I think a more apt comparison would be the
          Champions League where stronger teams get more bids but each nation
          (or conference here) gets representation.

  7. Ben says:

    Toronto FC is gona get bomb by Santos Laguna!

  8. The original Tom says:

    Maybe Charles is busy catching up at work because he actually goes
    to games as opposed to exclusively watching the sport on TV. For
    all the MLS flaws, I was thankful for it’s existence when Colorado
    hosted Santos Laguna. It was a pleasure to see such a good team and
    their fans in person in a competitive match. They schooled us 4-0.
    Hopefully over the years Colorado gets better, but now I have a
    favorite Mexican team in Santos Laguna. I’ve watched some great
    Euro Champions League games and highlights this season; it is
    always great to watch the sport at it’s highest level, but it is
    also good to have a team that I follow in person.

    • Charles says:

      Agreed Tom, I would go quite a few steps further. Watching the home
      team win the first leg of the Champions League in person is
      awesome. Nothing like it quite frankly. Adopting a Euro team on
      TV….give me a
      break………………………………………………. It is
      a shame most of the leagues are sooooo poorly run, that most of the
      world does not get to experience it unless they go the adopted
      route……………………………………………… Glad
      that Seattle is in there again for next year. Can’t wait, I hope we
      are Monterrey’s group again, that is turning into a nice rivalry.
      Win the group this year, and the Sounders would probably be in the
      Semis right now. Fun stuff.

      • Robert says:

        MLS still can’t figure out how to schedule its league and its
        championship format. How many times have they changed the playoffs
        in the past 10 years?

        • Heimdall says:

          Yeah, the whole half of the league in the playoffs stinks. Top
          quarter in might be too restrictive so top third sounds right. 40%
          in is my limit on the high end of teams in. But the constant change
          in format has something to do with the variance in the number of
          teams in the past ten years due to expansion.

        • I agree Robert! It seems to me sometimes that they get together and
          ask: “…What makes sense?” then after that they go :…..”Let’s
          make the total oposit of that”……..”can someone propose what is
          the most absurd way to do it?”……….is it any other way to
          explain having two divisions with inter divisional games, without
          single table but…then you have to make a single table to see who
          qualifies for ……10 teamsw play-offs………play offs that are
          one legged, then two legged……in which San Jose can become our
          Western Division Champion…….to finish in an NFL style single
          game final…………on neutral ground………now it will be on
          the highest seeded….home ad away?…….NAAAHHHH that makes too
          much sense, it will give both team fans a fear oportunity to
          support their team at their home turf on the most important match
          of the seasson……….naaahhhhh that’s out of
          question!………………..and we are paying millions to make
          such brilliant decisions!…..Comissioner makes more money than a
          franchise can pay their players!?

  9. joejoe says:

    What’s so shocking about Mexican teams beating MLS? But any team
    losing to Canadians is truly unbelievable.

  10. Heather McCall says:

    I kindly request that you remove the photo being used in
    conjunction with this story, which was neither taken by me nor to
    which you have publishing rights. The photo was taken by Canadian
    Press photographer Aaron Vincent Elkaim and is among his portfolio
    pictures featured on Flickr, uploaded by me:
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/cjfprograms/6284438206/in/set-72157627860960595/.
    Should you not remove the photo within 7 days, I will report your
    copyright breach to the photographer and to the Canadian Press and
    they will take stronger action against you. Thank you in advance
    for your compliance. Heather McCall

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