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TFC coasts to easy CCL win over listless Aguila side

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No Canadian team — club or national side — will ever have as easy a time of a match in Central America as Toronto FC did Tuesday night in its 3-0 win over El Salvador’s CD Aguila in CONCACAF Champions League action.

TFC went into San Salvador knowing that it needed three points in order to give its final group-stage match against Santos Laguna any meaning. Now, the Reds have given themselves a glimmer of hope for that match in Mexico — even though they’d need to beat Herculez Gomez and co. by two goals.

But Aguila, which already lost to TFC by a 5-1 count at BMO Field, was encountering a perfect storm. The team had to play in San Salvador, not at its home, meaning the game would take place in a cavernous empty stadium. Aguila had already been mathematically eliminated from having any chance of advancing to the knockout stages. And, its core group of players were away from the club, at a camp with the El Salvadoran national side.

So, TFC didn’t go into a Central American cauldron. The Reds walked into an empty stadium playing the B squad of a club that was just going through the motions.

Other than a reckless, dirty studs-to-the-back-of-the-knee challenge by Henry Romero on TFC midfielder Luis Silva just after the second half kickoff, there was very little pushback from the hosts. In fact, Silva’s knock that he picked up from that bad challenge was the Reds’ only worry of the evening.

The match never went past a jogging pace — and didn’t reach anywhere near the tempo you’d see at even the worst MLS game you’d ever see. And that suited the Reds just fine, as they were able to get two first half goals and coasted.

The first came after Aguila keeper Jose Gonzalez got caught in no man’s land as he tried to track a looping cross from TFC’s Ryan Johnson. Gonzalez got turned around, and had his back to TFC striker Quincy Amarikwa as he nodded home the opening goal.

Terry Dunfield got his first of two after an awful Aguila giveaway in midfield saw him and Johnson get a two-on-one chance in the penalty area. Johnson slotted the ball over to Dunfield, who banged the ball into the open goal.

Johnson should have had a goal of his own in the second half; but his attempt to volley a picture-perfect cross from Reggie Lambe smashed off the underside of the bar and stayed out.

Dunfield would get his second of the night after he slid into the penalty area to meet a low cross from Ashtone Morgan, and bundled the ball past Gonzalez.

Aguila finished the group stage with one goal for, and 17 against. And, really, if anything, this game showed just how CONCACAF’s new three-team-group system can go horribly wrong. A minnow like Aguila was cannon fodder for an MLS team and a Mexican side; and there was no interest and no passion in El Salvador on Tuesday night for the CCL.

And, for those who think TFC striker Danny Koevermans’ “worst team in the world” comment from earlier this season was appropriate, this match is a stark reminder that, while the Reds are the worst team in MLS, they are a heck of a lot more talented than most teams in Central America.

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