TORONTO — David Beckham finally came to Toronto, but both he and a record crowd of 22,453 left BMO Field frustrated as Toronto FC and the LA Galaxy played to a tactics-heavy scoreless draw.
The Galaxy came close to scoring on three occassions, but hit the woodwork on all of them. Both Beckham and former TFC forward Chad Barrett peeled paint off the goalposts on each side of halftime, while Toronto had a few close calls of their own. Overall, though, it was a score line that was reflective of the run of play.
Prior to the game, questions abound regarding LA striker Landon Donovan's status. The Galaxy had refused to answer questions about whether he was going to play, which lead to questions about whether he was even in Toronto.
In the end, suspicions of Donovan’s absence proved correct, as the US international was not on the bench. Without him, the Galaxy were unable to generate many true scoring chances.
While there were few opportunities for each side to score throughout the match, LA came out firing from the start. Less than a minute in, Juan Pablo Angel latched onto a ball provided by Barrett, but Toronto goalie Stefan Frei made a great save to keep his goal unscathed.
Barrett's turn came in the 13th minute. After taking the ball near the midfield, the Galaxy forward streaked towards goal and unloaded a left-footer from outside the 18-yard box that flew over Frei and richocheted off the crossbar.
Toronto's response would come in the 26th minute, when Jacob Peterson curled in a free kick right onto the head of Gianluca Zavarise. This time, it was LA 'keeper Donovan Ricketts turn to be huge, denying the chance at point-blank range to keep the affair scoreless going into halftime.
The Galaxy nearly got lucky 15 minutes into the second half. Left back Todd Dunivant was played through by AJ DeLaGarza and sent in a cross that was deflected by a defender. The ball took a mean loop and crashed onto the right side of the crossbar.
Ten minutes later, it was Beckham's turn to strike the post. The Englishman lined up a free kick from about 30 yards out and smashed a shot onto Frei's left upright.
Toronto, though, continued to look for the winning goal late into the game. Danleigh Borman curled in a free kick into the box that evaded all but second-half sub Joao Plata. The diminutive attacker put his head onto the cross six yards from goal, but Ricketts again came up with a crucial save for the Galaxy.
The game marked the third straight 0-0 draw between the Galaxy and TFC over the last two seasons. It was Toronto’s third straight draw this season and ran the Reds record to 1-3-1. The Galaxy are 2-1-3.
LA -- David Beckham (caution; Reckless Tackle) 44
TOR -- Javier Martina (caution; Reckless Tackle) 67
TOR -- Alen Stevanovic (caution; Reckless Tackle) 68
LA -- Bryan Jordan (caution; Reckless Tackle) 76
LA -- Juninho (caution; Reckless Tackle) 78
LA -- Juninho (caution; Reckless Tackle) 93+
LA -- Juninho (ejection; Second Caution) 93+
LA Galaxy -- Donovan Ricketts, A.J. DeLaGarza, Leonardo, Omar Gonzalez, Todd Dunivant, Sean Franklin (Paolo Cardozo 88), David Beckham, Juninho, Mike Magee (Bryan Jordan 75), Chad Barrett, Juan Pablo Angel (Miguel Lopez 84). Substitutes Not Used: Chris Birchall, Frankie Hejduk, Michael Stephens, Josh Saunders.
Toronto FC -- Stefan Frei, Dan Gargan, Ty Harden, Adrian Cann, Danleigh Borman, Tony Tchani, Julian de Guzman (Mikael Yourassowsky 65), Jacob Peterson, Javier Martina (Joao Plata 85), Gianluca Zavarise (Oscar Cordon 79), Alen Stevanovic. Substitutes Not Used: Nana Attakora, Keith Makubuya, Nick Soolsma, Milos Kocic.
Referee: Terry Vaughn
Referee's Assistants: Eric Boria; Corey Parker
4th Official: Geoff Gamble
Weather: Partly Cloudy and 45 degrees