Santos Laguna knocks a Canadian team out of CCL for the third time By Steven Sandor Posted on October 25, 2012 0 0 480 Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Ryan Johnson PHOTO: JESSICA BOTTS/CANADA SOCCER The final thread of Toronto FC’s 2012 season of infamy was cut by a team made up mainly of Santos Laguna’s taxi squad. After going to the semifinals of last year’s CONCACAF Champions League — where they were blown out by Santos Languna — TFC didn’t survive the group stage this season. On Wednesday, the Reds walked into the stadium in Torreon, Mexico, knowing that they needed to win by two goals. The last time they went into Torreon, in the semifinal of the previous CCL, the Reds lost 6-2. This time, the loss was “just” 1-0. A sensational volley from U.S. national teamer Herculez Gomez offered little chance for TFC keeper Freddy Hall to react, and that was enough for the Mexican side to claim a victory it didn’t really need to advance to the knockout rounds. And, frankly, the win over the Reds wasn’t the biggest CCL news of the day that involved Santos Laguna. Earlier Wednesday, FIFA banned three Guatemalan players for life — Guillermo Ramirez Ortega, Yony Wilson Flores Monroy and Gustavo Adolfo Cabrera Marroquin were all found guilty of match-fixing offences, including helping their club, Municipal, fall 6-1 to Santos in CCL action back in 2010. Herculez GomezBut, for the third time since Canada began sending a team to the CCL, our representative has been knocked out of the competition thanks to a loss in Torreon. Montreal gave up two injury-time goals to lose there back in ’09, then TFC twice in 2012. Canadian dreams die in Torreon. TFC did have some excellent early chances. Ryan Johnson sent a shot just wide after he got past the defensive line. Another Johnson shot was saved. Reggie Lambe also saw a good attempt saved by Santos keeper Miguel Bacera. But, again, Santos started just three regulars for the match. You had the feeling that if the home team ever got down in this game, fresh legs would be brought in and Santos would roar in return. But TFC never got that lead and, by the time Gomez got that goal with 17 minutes left in the match, Santos was already quite comfortable. Now, the Reds can look forward to having the No. 3 seed for next year’s Amway Canadian Championship. Because of its looming last-place finish in the MLS standings, the Reds will finish well behind Montreal and Vancouver, who will wait till this weekend to decide to see who gets the No. 1 and 2 seeds. Under the qualifying format for next year’s ACC, being the defending champs means nothing — it is based solely on order of finish in the MLS regular season, with NASL’s FC Edmonton automatically the four based on its Div. 2 statues.