TORREÓN, Mexico – If Toronto FC pull off the improbable and advance past Mexican league leaders Santos Laguna here in Wednesday's CONCACAF Champions League semifinal second leg (8 pm ET, FOX Soccer, LIVE CHAT on MLSsoccer.com), they'll make history.
But to Toronto native and Reds defender Ashtone Morgan, the shockwaves would be felt well beyond.
“It’d be a memorial day,” Morgan told MLSsoccer.com on Tuesday of potentially eliminating Santos, “a crazy day for the city and the country.”
The 21-year-old Morgan found himself at the center of attention after getting headbutted in the dying seconds of the first leg at BMO Field, an act which led to a red card for Santos’ Darwin Quintero and a melee following the final whistle.
Press reports after the game – and since – suggest there is ongoing friction between the two squads. But if los Guerreros want to target Morgan, the TFC Academy graduate is prepared.
“I’ve got to expect the worst,” Morgan said. “But I’ve got to play my game, stay focused and do everything for the team.”
Danny Koevermans has been suspended for the match, leaving a hole at striker for the Reds to fill. Though head coach Aron Winter was coy about who might step up in the Dutchman’s absence, Morgan was less guarded.
“We have Ryan Johnson,” Morgan said. “He’s been showing he can score goal and he’s been a great asset to the team.”
Tom Marshall covers Americans playing in Latin America. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.