FRISCO, Texas – Danny Koevermans opened the scoring and Joao Plata added a second-half brace as Toronto FC stunned FC Dallas 3-0 on Tuesday night at Pizza Hut Park to earn a spot in the CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinals.
Both Dallas and Toronto needed a victory to move beyond the group stages of the tournament, but Dallas, also gearing up for the MLS Cup playoffs, started the match slow and out of sorts. Toronto, however, looked sharp and ready from the opening whistle and their first goal came after several minutes of consistent pressure in the Dallas 18-yard box.
In the 28th minute Plata, whose darting runs were dangerous all night, found Koevermans in the box and the burly Dutch forward was able to knock the ball home after mis-hitting first attempt.
Despite the break at half, Dallas came back out the same way they started, unable to connect through midfield and lacking creativity up top. Toronto once again capitalized on FCD’s languid play. In the 69th minute, an unmarked Plata scored his first of the night, taking a feed from Ryan Johnson near the spot and neatly slotting it into the back of the net.
Nine minutes from time, the diminutive Ecuadorean once again get the better of the Dallas defense, cutting inside Jackson and curling a shot to the back post and beyond the outstretched arms of Kevin Hartman. The brace upped Plata’s haul of CCL goals to four.
With the loss, Dallas’ first foray into the CCL comes to a close with a 2-3-1 record in Group C play; FCD went winless through their four final matches. They will now turn their attention to their final regular-season game in league play on Saturday at San Jose.
Toronto, meanwhile, wrap group play with a 3-2-1 record and will finish the year on a huge high despite being eliminated from MLS Cup playoff contention weeks ago. The Reds wrap their league season at home against New England on Saturday and will next look forward to opening 2012 with the CCL quarterfinals for the first time in club history next March.
Aron Winter's men join the Montreal Impact as the only Canadian clubs ever to advance to the knockout stage of the tournament. They now temporarily top Group C with seven points. Pumas UNAM and Tauro FC will conclude group play on Wednesday.
TOR -- Danny Koevermans, 29’
TOR -- Joao Plata, 69’
TOR -- Joao Plata, 81’
TOR -- Andy Iro (caution) 42'
TOR -- Nick Soolsma (caution) 58’
DAL -- Daniel Hernandez (caution) 68’
TOR -- Julian de Guzman (caution) 77’
DAL -- Ruben Luna (caution) 91’
Toronto FC -- Milos Kocic; Doneil Henry, Ty Harden, Andy Iro, Ashtone Morgan; Nick Soolsma, Torsten Frings, Julian de Guzman (Terry Dunfield, 80’); Ryan Johnson, Danny Koevermans (Nathan Sturgis, 92’), Joao Plata (Peri Marosevic, 85’)
Substitutes Not Used: Stefan Frei; Eddy Viator, Mikael Yourassowsky, Gianluca Zavarise
FC Dallas -- Kevin Hartman, Jeremy Hall (Ruben Luna, 68’), Ugo Ihemelu, George John, Zach Loyd, Daniel Hernandez, Andrew Jacobson, Ricardo Villar (Daniel Cruz, 45’), Brek Shea (Bruno Guarda, 87’), Marvin Chávez, Jackson Gonçalves
Substitutes Not Used: Bobby Warshaw, Jack Stewart, Victor Ulloa, Chris Seitz
Referee: Roberto Garcia
Referee’s Assistants: Marvin Torrentera, Hector Delgadillo
4th Official: Francisco Chacon
Weather: Clear, 65 degrees