Toronto FC will head into the second leg of their Concacaf Champions League Quarterfinals series with Cruz Azul in a two-goal deficit after taking a 3-1 defeat in Leg 1 at Raymond James Stadium on Tuesday.
Brayan Angulo netted twice for the visitors, while Pablo Aguilar added the third with a 58th-minute header. Jonathan Osorio scored the lone goal of the match for TFC in the 20th minute to equalize after Angulo's opener, but that would the only tally of the evening for the Reds, leaving the Liga MX side in the driver's seat ahead of Leg 2 at Estadio Azteca on Tuesday.
Cruz Azul jumped on top just three minutes into the contest through a legitimate golazo from Angulo. The Ecuadorian forward gave no chance for diving Toronto goalkeeper Alex Bono, unleashing a gorgeous curling shot to the far post from outside the area to give the visitors the 1-0 lead.
The Reds found their leveler in the 20th, however, courtesy of a close-range finish from Osorio, which was set up after Cruz Azul failed to clear a cross into the box by Justin Morrow.
Cruz Azul thought they had struck back for a go-ahead goal just after the restart following Osorio's goal, as Juan Escobar headed a free kick back across goal and into the net. But the goal was disallowed on Video Review, as Escobar was ruled just offside, allowing Toronto to maintain the 1-1 deadlock.
But the Liga MX side would find the final goal of a wild first half in the 34th minute as Angulo struck again, this time nestling home the finish off a well-executed corner kick that was set up with a headed assist from Aguilar.
Cruz Azul then added a third just shy of the hour mark, striking again on a set piece, with Aguilar playing the role of goal-scorer this time by flicking a headed finish past Bono off a free kick from Oberlin Pineda, which wound up standing as the game's final goal despite some more late pressure from the visitors.
- THE BIG PICTURE: It was always going to be a tough task for Toronto going up against a Cruz Azul side that is currently atop the Liga MX table and came into the match riding a 16-match unbeaten run. Still, it was a disappointing showing in the home leg, as Toronto were given fits on set pieces throughout the night and couldn't parlay Osorio's big equalizer into positive momentum. There's still everything to play for in Leg 2, but this result leaves the Reds with an uphill battle.
- MOMENT OF THE MATCH: Angulo's first goal was the best highlight, but his second was the one that really proved to be the back-breaker, as Toronto never really recovered after going down a second time.
- MAN OF THE MATCH: There are a lot of worthy candidates for the visitors in what ended up as a comprehensive performance, but Angulo's brace makes him the obvious choice for the honors.
- TOR: Saturday, May 8 at New York Red Bulls | 1 pm PT (MLS LIVE on ESPN+)