Wednesday night’s CONCACAF Champions League second leg semifinal will prove a tough pill to swallow for Toronto FC fans.
And we’re not talking about the rotund 6-2 final score at Santos Laguna which eliminated TFC.
Toronto had a 1-0 and 2-1 leads on the road – in Mexico, no less. They were seconds away from entering the halftime break up 3-2 on aggregate. But the Canadian side gave up inopportune goals and two PKs en route to a loss (watch the highlights here).
The Santos goal in first half injury time to level the score at 2-2 was decisive: “I think that was the breaking point in the game,” said winger Nick Soolsma.
TFC’s Terry Dunfield was critical of his teammates on the instances that led to the two Santos penalty kicks: “I think when you come to places like this, you need to stand on your feet and not to give the ref the opportunity to make the decision,” he said.
Forget unfortunate PK calls. Canadian soccer reporter John Molinaro leads his reaction piece this way: “How many times does it need to be repeated before the Toronto FC brain trust does something about it? One more time, then: It's the defense, stupid!”
As for Santos: “We like it when our pride is hurt,” said Santos manager Benjamín Galindo about his team’s reaction. “Their goals were scored because of our errors. Although Toronto were an organized team, when we decided to, we scored and showed ourselves that we’re capable of great things.” (SPANISH)
Santos will take on defending champions Monterrey after los Rayados played to a 1-1 tie in their second leg against Pumas UNAM and advanced 4-1 on aggregate (watch the highlights here).
Real Salt Lake are at the top of the Western Conference after Wednesday night’s 1-0 home win over the expansion Montreal Impact (watch the highlights here), but manager Jason Kreis wasn’t necessarily thrilled with the victory: “I think it would be hypocritical of me to come in here and say I’m really pleased. This game we’ve got some problems,” he said.
MLSsoccer.com was on the scene: Check out the reactions from Kreis, Will Johnson and goalkeeper Nick Rimando, who were not pleased with the performance. (VIDEO)
While Kreis was bemoaning the showing that RSL had in front of a sold-out Rio Tinto Stadium midweek crowd, the players were happy with the three points: “I’m sure that [Montreal] would trade the three points for the performance any day. It’s a results business, and tonight we did enough to get the result,” Johnson said.
The winning goal was scored by Paulo Jr. on a penalty kick. Captain Kyle Beckerman originally held the ball with designs on taking the PK, but the Brazilian insisted, scoring his first goal in nearly a year: "He’s a forward like any forward. He wanted to get off the schneid. I was pleased with that,” said Kreis.
But RSL may have issues ahead of this weekend’s Rocky Mountain Cup clash against the Colorado Rapids: Ned Grabavoy and Javier Morales, who were scheduled to start the match, look like they’ll be out after picking up injuries against Montreal.
Another league match will be played tonight as FC Dallas host the upstart New England Revolution (8:30 pm ET, MLS LIVE). Dallas, who closed their practice to the media yesterday, will have to shuffle their lineup some more given suspensions to Jair Benítez and Daniel Hernandez: “They’re going to miss [Hernandez],” says Revs midfielder Clyde Simms. “They’re a different team without him. I think it’s going to shake them up a little. … I think that definitely will be an advantage for us.”
Dallas manager Schellas Hyndman is not concerned by his team’s inconsistent 1-2-1 start to the season: “I think if you look at the history of FC Dallas, I think this is pretty much a normal start for us, a slow start. I think we’re a team that starts slow.”
Hyndman also admits that his club attempted to forge a deal with the Vancouver Whitecaps for winger Lee Nguyen before he was cut and picked up by New England: “It became very unrealistic for us to get him what Vancouver was asking for. We were just too far back to get him.”
FC Dallas are one of two MLS clubs that has been linked with 22-year-old Honduran right back Wilmer Crisanto, who earned the nickname “Cafu” after his showing at the CONCACAF Olympic qualifying tournament. D.C. United are the other club cited by this report. (SPANISH)
Reports in Romania say that the Montreal Impact are chasing former international forward Adrian Mutu, who currently plays for Cesena in the Italian Serie A. (ROMANIAN)
A midfielder is on his way to MLS: It’s 23-year-old Colombian Hárrison Henao of Once Caldas, who reports say is set to join the Colombian contingent at the Colorado Rapids in two weeks. (SPANISH)
The defending MLS Cup champion LA Galaxy are going through a rough patch, conceding plenty of goals, but manager Bruce Arena doesn’t want to hear that it has anything to do with the absence of Defender of the Year Omar Gonzalez: “To use that as an excuse, to me, is a little bit shallow. … We're certainly less aggressive, but I don't think that has anything to do with the fact that Omar isn't around.”
The Galaxy will be facing Sporting Kansas City in the most anticipated match of the weekend. SKC are 4-0-0 but manager Peter Vermes is cautious: “I want to guard against thinking that we’re some invincible team. By no means have we proven that yet. … If we give a team like LA with Keane or Buddle up top, some of the chances that we’ve given away over the course four games, they’re going to punish us.”
Meanwhile, the talk in New York Red Bulls camp ahead of this Saturday’s visit to Columbus (3 pm ET, Univision Deportes) is getting more production from wide midfielders Joel Lindpere and Dane Richards: “We need a little more from our wide players when we’re on the road,’’ said manager Hans Backe. "Wide right, wide left has to be a little bit more creative. I think that’s the key."
Find out what Philadelphia Union manager Peter Nowak was talking about in his Wednesday press briefing when he says: “As we said from the beginning, this is the tree and you have the branches.”
Did the first MLS coach on Twitter already bring an end to that experiment? That’s what it looks like, according to this report.
The Houston Dynamo are a little over a month away from christening BBVA Compass Stadium but they are already enjoying the benefits of their new home. Season tickets will rival those of the Astros and Rockets and revenues have reportedly doubled compared to last year.
Vancouver Whitecaps veteran goalkeeper Joe Cannon is making his return to the Bay Area when his team visits the San Jose Earthquakes this weekend. He’s once again expecting a warm reception from the fans who once cheered him: “There are a lot of fans that still care,” he said.
You know how Mexican club Xolos of Tijuana say they want to take over Southern California? Now they’ve scheduled a June 30 match against Club América at Qualcomm Stadium.
Can you imagine watching an MLS match on the water in Manhattan? That’s the scenario that will be discussed later tonight in a meeting between league officials and the Hudson River Park task force, which manages Pier 40 on the West Side. However, there would be legislative hurdles that would need to be overcome to make an MLS stadium a reality, according to another report.
In other stadium news, Maryland’s governor apparently wants to include a line item in the state’s budget for studying “the economic feasibility, economic impact, and fiscal costs of building a stadium for the DC United,” but a report says the Maryland General Assembly is recommending using those funds elsewhere.
Meanwhile, don’t miss the unveiling of the Lego-scale model of Livestrong Sporting Park, which will take place later this afternoon.
In international soccer action three Americans – Jozy Altidore (AZ Alkmaar), Steve Cherundolo (Hanover ‘96) and Jermaine Jones (Schalke 04) hope to clinch Europa League semifinal berths today. You can watch Cherundolo take on Atlético Madrid (3 pm ET, GolTV), while Schalke face Athletic Bilbao (5 pm ET, GolTV). Here’s a preview.
Another American based abroad, Bolton Wanderers and ex-Red Bulls defender Tim Ream, apparently has no idea whether he figures into the plans of USMNT manager Jurgen Klinsmann.
Speaking of Klinsmann, the US manager spoke to media in a wide-ranging conference call and one message came through loud and clear: He’s concerned about playing time for young Americans.
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