TORONTO — Goals by a veteran attacker and a rookie midfielder simply weren’t enough for Toronto FC to upset the LA Galaxy on Saturday afternoon, as a stunning stoppage-time goal by Jose Villarreal helped the defending MLS Cup champions salvage a 2-2 draw in front of 18,335 fans at BMO Field.
Mike Magee also scored his league-leading fifth goal of the season for the Galaxy (2-0-2), who welcomed star forward Landon Donovan back into the mix for the first time in 2013 after he returned to the club earlier this week following his winter hiatus.
But goals by Robert Earnshaw and Jonathan Osorio nearly gave Toronto FC (1-2-1) the headlines in what was nearly their second win in as many games at home this season. Earnshaw scored his team-high fourth goal in the 29th minute off a bad back pass from Galaxy defender Leonardo to erase a Magee goal in the 16th minute, and then the rookie Osorio scored his first career MLS goal in the 78th minute to give TFC a late 2-1 lead.
That goal was set up by Toronto star midfielder Luis Silva, who returned from injury and made the first appearance of his sophomore campaign as a second-half substitute. The fourth overall pick in the 2012 MLS SuperDraft skirted Galaxy and US national team defender Omar Gonzalez on the left flank and beat him to the end line before skipping a cross into the box that Osorio pounded home.
But the last laugh belonged to Villarreal, who scored his first goal of the season in the second minute of stoppage time on a scissor kick after TFC right back Darel Russell headed an LA cross back in front of the Toronto goal and right to Villarreal.
Donovan, who had not appeared in a competitive match since the Galaxy’s MLS Cup win last December, came on for youngster Jack McBean in the 61st minute and was immediately given the captain’s armband by veteran defender Todd Dunivant. Donovan almost immediately made an impact when some poor defending by Toronto in the midfield allowed Magee to send Donovan in alone on goalkeeper Joe Bendik, but Donovan scuffed his shot after more than four months away from the game. He didn’t feature prominently over the final 25 minutes of the match.
The Galaxy return to action on Wednesday against Mexican side Monterrey at The Home Depot Center in the first leg of the CONCACAF Champions League semifinals, while Toronto will host FC Dallas next Saturday.
|Rank||Player||What We Saw|
|1||Jonathan Osorio (TOR)||A bright spot for Ryan Nelsen's guys. His energy changed the game and his first goal in MLS should have been the winner.|
|2||Jose Villarreal (LA)||If he turns out be the star most expect, his late equalizer in this one could be a "look how young he was!" moment.|
|3||Mike Magee (LA)||This spot could have gone to TFC's Luis Silva, but Magee is red hot. Five goals in four games, and he should have had two in this one.|