Home Global Game CONCACAF TFC scores 5 in CCL opener, but the game wasn’t seen by many

TFC scores 5 in CCL opener, but the game wasn’t seen by many


With just 5,324 fans in attendance at BMO Field and no TV broadcaster airing the game, Toronto FC’s performance in its CONCACAF Champions League opener against CD Aguila could well become an urban legend.

“Did you hear TFC won a game 5-1?”

“Yeah, sure! Was it a brace for the Loch Ness Monster and a hat trick from Bigfoot?”

As unlikely as it sounds, the Reds did indeed score five times against an overmatched Aguila side. It was just the second time in team history that TFC reached the five-goal plateau, finishing one shy of the club record of six, set in the famous “Miracle In Montreal” victory over the Impact that won Toronto the 2009 Canadian Championship.

“It’s good for our confidence,” said striker Ryan Johnson. “Going into Chicago [on Saturday], it’s a big game for us, and this helps everybody. We had a lot of opportunities on offence and this will make us more comfortable when we’re in those positions.”

CD Aguila’s Champions League debut could hardly have gone worse, both on the pitch and simply in getting to Canada. Aguila head coach Victor Coreas explained that the club missed its connecting flight and had to spend the night in a Miami airport, only arriving in Toronto early Wednesday afternoon.

While Aguila were already regarded as the weak link in a Champions League group that includes TFC and heavy favourites Santos Laguna, Reds head coach Paul Mariner expressed sympathy for the visitors and expected a better showing when TFC visits El Salvador on Sept, 25.

“I know about their travel issues and I have sentiments after the fact,” Mariner said. “You’ve just to play against the people they put in front of you. It’s unfortunate about the travel situation, but… I thought they had some really good players.”

Given Santos Laguna’s long shadow in Group 1, TFC couldn’t afford anything less than maximum points against Aguila. It was clear from the opening minutes, however, that the Salvadoran champions were out of their element. The Reds were able to pass and shoot at will amidst the non-existent Aguila defence and it took just nine minutes before Luis Silva opened the scoring, heading a Torsten Frings corner into the left side of the net.

Silva played a big role in the second goal as well, taking a pass from Reggie Lambe inside the box and then passing it back to Lambe, who capped off the tic-tac-toe play by putting the ball into the back of the net.

The Reds were brought down to earth in the 37th minute, however, as Milos Kocic mishandled a free kick and left a big rebound lying for Aguila’s Yaikel Perez, who converted to put his club back within one. Toronto restored its two-goal lead before the half, as Terry Dunfield struck in the 40th minute with a redirection of a long pass in from Ashtone Morgan.

It was just the fifth time in club history that TFC had scored three times in a half and the Reds got back in stride at the start of the second half. Morgan sent a long pass in to Lambe, who had plenty of time to maneuver amidst the seemingly disinterested Aguila defenders and easily kicked the ball in for his second goal of the night.

Johnson capped off the scoring with a goal of his own in the 58th minute, emerging with the ball as goalkeeper Benji Villalobos and a defender slid into each other, leaving Johnson free to calmly slot the ball into the right side of the net.

“We found each other’s feet, as opposed to the last game,” Johnson said. “We need to slow the game down, place the feet and try to combine it if we can, then go forward if we have the opportunity.”

Toronto outshot Aguila 25-8 (12-4 in shots on goal) and looked like a completely different team than the side who were offensively muddled in last Saturday’s 2-0 loss to the Houston Dynamo. While Aguila isn’t up to the Dynamo’s standard, Mariner said he was pleased at how his Reds rebounded from their previous match.

“I think [Aguila] caught us on a good night,” Mariner said. “Unfortunately for them we were poor against Houston, and I asked for a response and got a response. I’m very pleased for the lads.”

The win gives TFC the early lead in Group 1, as Santos gets into action when it hosts Aguila on Aug. 21. Santos then comes to BMO Field on Aug. 28 in a rematch of the 2011-12 CCL semi-finals, when Toronto’s Cinderella run through the tournament ended after a 3-7 aggregate loss to the defending Mexican Primera Division Clausura champs.

The Reds managed a 1-1 draw when they hosted Santos on March 28 and with Aguila showing little chance of stealing points in Mexico, TFC will probably need the full three points on Aug. 28 to have any chance of winning the group and advancing to the knockout stage.

TFC could have a new face in the fold by that Aug. 28 date. Mariner said that the club is close to signing a new defender and could have an announcement within 48 hours. The coach gave no hints as to the player’s identity and confirmed that even if the player is signed soon, he wouldn’t be available for Saturday’s game in Chicago.


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