The equalizer, coming five minutes after halftime off the leg of sliding Leon defender Andres Mosquera, canceled out Fernando Navarro's brilliant volleyed opener just beyond the midway point of the first half.
With Leon's pressure for a second goal at home falling short, Toronto can guarantee quarterfinal passage with a victory of any sort in Leg 2 — played at their home away from home in Kissimmee, Fla. — or even a scoreless draw.
Jozy Altidore departed in the 75th minute with an apparent leg injury for TFC, on a night new manager Chris Armas was already without Alejandro Pozuelo, Jonathan Osorio, and Ayo Akinola among others. Gallardo also left the match in the 75th after replacing Noble Okello at halftime.
But Gallardo made Toronto's key play five minutes into his half-hour shift, dispossessing a Leon defender on the right flank and then driving a low cross in Altidore's direction. Mosquera slid to try and keep the service from reaching Altidore, redirecting it over goalkeeper Rodolfo Cota and inside the left post.
- THE BIG PICTURE: Even with a full-strength squad, this clearly would've been a positive result for Toronto, a club which has a better track record than most MLS sides against Liga MX opposition. As for Leon, beaten by LAFC in 2020, they will now need a result in Florida to avoid the disappointment of being eliminated by an MLS team in the Round of 16 in consecutive years.
- MOMENT OF THE MATCH: Although Leon will rue their finishing, Navarro's opener was as perfect a strike as you'll see. He drove his right boot through Jean Meneses' lofted pass. Alex Bono got a finger tip to it, but not enough to keep it from crossing the goal line after striking the inside of the right post.
GOLAZO! Fernando Navarro's volley gives León early lead
- MAN OF THE MATCH: Joel Campbell. The Costa Rican should've finished one of this chances, but he was a consistent creator on the right flank all night and deserved at least one assist for his efforts.
- TOR: Wednesday, April 14 vs. Club Leon | 6 pm ET, FS1 | Concacaf Champions League Round of 16 Leg 2