Toronto FC draws in CCL home leg
Posted on 28 March 2012 in FIFA Club World Cup
Canada's Toronto FC drew 1:1 with visiting Santos Laguna in the opening leg of the 2011-12 CONCACAF Champions League semi-final series. After conceding the opening goal to American international Hérculez Gómez, Toronto equalised in the 37th minute on a goal by Miguel Aceval. The series now heads to Mexico where a winner will be decided on 4 April 2012 at the Estadio Corona in Torreón, Mexico.
The opening leg was played on Wednesday 28 March at BMO Field in Toronto, ON. Also on Wednesday night, Monterrey won 3:0 over Pumas in the other CONCACAF Champions League semi-final match. Hector Morales (7') and Aldo De Negris (60', 72') scored for Monterrey. Moterrey was host for the opening leg, so Pumas will host the return leg on 4 April 2012 at the Estadio Olímpico de Universitario in Ciudad de Mexico.
With the Toronto-Santos score tied 1-1, the visitors went down a man in the 77th minute after an Osmar Mares ejection. Right at the end of the match after the final whistle, Carlos Quintero was shown a red card for his actions on the pitch. Both Mares and Quintero will miss the return leg of the semi-final series.
Before the two ejections, Toronto FC had several chances to take the lead in the second half. On both occasions, the ball just went wide of the target.
"I think that a draw is not a bad result, but we deserve more" said Toronto FC head coach Aron Winter. "If you watch the whole game, we had opportunities to make two goals and they scored from nothing. At that moment we were not sharp and I think a victory would have been good, but a draw is also good."
For the first leg of the semi-final, Toronto FC's starting XI featured Milos Kočić (goal), Ty Harden, Miguel Aceval, Richard Eckersley, Ashtone Morgan, Julian de Guzman, Terry Dunfield, Danny Koevermans, Ryan Johnson, Reggie Lambe and Nicky Soolsma. In the second half, coach Aron Winter replaced Aceval with Aaron Maund (49') and Soolsma with Joao Plata (72').
Toronto FC is a three-time Canadian champion, now in its third CONCACAF Champions League campaign. After Impact Montréal reached the quarter-final phase in 2008-09, Toronto FC became the first Canadian club to reach the semi-final stage this 2011-12 season. The winner of 2011-12 CONCACAF Champions League will qualify for the FIFA Club World Cup in December 2012.