Michael Bradley, Alan Pulido - Toronto FC vs. Chivas - CCL final leg 1

The first leg of the Concacaf Champions League final was an emotional ride. I watched from MLS HQ with a group of coworkers and friends.

Given the scoreline, I don’t want to talk about the game much. So I decided I’ll recap the game using hit pop songs.

0-15th minute

The Sound of Silence - Simon and Garfunkel

After nervously pacing around the office all day, I sat down for the game. Seventy-five seconds later, Chivas took a throw-in, crossed the ball into the box, and finished a first-time far-post shot. The energy evaporated from the room. It all felt too familiar.

“Hello darkness, my old friend
I've come to talk with you again
Because a vision softly creeping
Left its seeds while I was sleeping
And the vision that was planted in my brain
Still remains
Within the sound of silence”

15th-30th minute

Tubthumping - Chumbawamba

Yeah, it was a rough start to the game. I thought I was going to start crying multiple times. But then Toronto FC started to get it together. Slowly but surely, they edged their way back into the game. At the 19-minute mark, they scored the equalizer. They started to become the dominant force we expected them to be.

“I get knocked down, but I get up again
You are never gonna keep me down
I get knocked down, but I get up again
You are never gonna keep me down

I get knocked down, but I get up again
You are never gonna keep me down
I get knocked down, but I get up again
You are never gonna keep me down”

30th-45th minute

I Believe I Can Fly - R Kelly

After TFC scored, they got their swagger back. They started knocking the ball around nicely. At one point, they connected seven passes that spanned from their own 18-yard box to a shot at the top of the opposite 6-yard-box.

A few minutes later, they were dropping heel flicks en route to goal-scoring chances. It was gorgeous, and only seemed a matter of time before they would take the lead.

“I used to think that I could not go on
And life was nothing but an awful song
But now I know the meaning of true love
I'm leaning on the everlasting arms
If I can see it, then I can do it
If I just believe it, there's nothing to it
I believe I can fly
I believe I can touch the sky”


The Waiting is the Hardest Part - Tom Petty

Toronto ended the first half dominating the game. It felt like torture to have to wait the 15 minutes to watch them pour a few more goals in. Those were the days, huh?

“The waiting is the hardest part
Every day you see one more card
You take it on faith, you take it to the heart
The waiting is the hardest part”

45th-70th minute

(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction - The Rolling Stones

Just score a goal already. Toronto had chances. They kept coming close to putting the game away, or at least taking the lead. But the more they struggled to convert, the more it felt like it might be one of those nights.

“I can't get no satisfaction, I can't get no
'Cause I try and I try and I try and I try
I can't get no, I can't get no”

70th-90th minute

Killing Me Softly - Fugees

In the 72nd minute, Chivas forward Alan Pulido took a free kick from near the sideline. The ball drifted toward goal. Then it kept drifting. And kept drifting. Straight over TFC goalkeeper Alex Bono’s head and into the net. It felt like both the most ridiculous yet appropriate goal of all time.

Then for the next 20 minutes, Toronto tried to get the goal back but simply stretched themselves and never really looked like scoring. The game turned into a back-and-forth race, in which every Toronto attack was countered by a Chivas chance of equal danger.

“Strumming my pain with his fingers
Singing my life with his words
Killing me softly with his song
Killing me softly with his song
Telling my whole life with his words
Killing me softly with his song”

Full time

Quit Playing Games With My Heart - Backstreet Boys

Toronto had been so good all tournament. SO GOOD! Then they gave up a horrible goal early. INFURIATING! Then they started playing so well. GOOAALLLL! Then they gave up another soft one. WHHYYYYY?! And now I’m just exhausted.

“Quit playin' games with my heart
Before you tear us apart (my heart)
Quit playin' games with my heart
I should've known from the start
You know you got to stop (from my heart
You're tearing us apart (my heart)
Quit playin' games with my heart”

After two sorrow-filled drinks

I’m a Believer - The Monkeys

TFC are a good team. They got results in Mexico against Tigres and Club America. They can do it against Chivas. I have hope.

“I thought love was only true in fairy tales
Meant for someone else but not for me
Love was out to get me
That's the way it seemed
Disappointment haunted all of my dreams
Then I saw her face, now I'm a believer
Not a trace of doubt in my mind
I'm in love
I'm a believer, I couldn't leave her if I tried”