Toronto may have spent the summer months deep in a winless goal drought, but there is no way I am willing to call the Los Angeles Galaxy a better team than TFC. Look at the games that they played head to head. TFC battled them to a scoreless draw in August, a game that Toronto should have won.
Which brings us to tonight. TFC survived the 1st half, going into the halftime break with a nil-nil score. They played many defenders as midfielders in this one. Adam Braz and Marvell Wynne were both in midfield roles. In addition to the usual loss of O'Brien, Brennan and Dichio to injury, there was also Edu, Boyens and Robinson away on international duty. So when you consider the huge potential for a defensive shell mentality, the back four worked well together and the midfield was digging in too. The Galaxy had the game under control in the first 30 minutes, but TFC ended the half with a flurry of runs and opportunities. Marshall had a chance in alone on the keeper (how was he onside??) and missed the far post. Both Marvell Wynne and Gabe Gala showed some flashes on attack. A glimmer of hope was spotted in the California night.
Toronto came out with energy in the second half and you felt that the game was still up for grabs. Then the first crumble. Marco Reda reached out and held onto the Galaxy player (Pavon or Glinton?) in the box and not only conceded the pk but picked up a red card for fouling as the last man back. But the plot had a few more twists ahead. Down a goal and down a player, TFC found another gear. Pozniak sprung Samuel with a beautiful pass and Samuel, our king of missed opportunities, buried a hard low shot past Cannon the LA keeper. Now a tie would not eliminate the Galaxy from the playoffs, but it would not be a step in the right direction. LA made all their changes looking for the right offensive combo. No doubt they were struggling with the 10 men TFC. Then along came Buddle. Remember him ?? Edson Buddle scored the winner, wide open in front of the net, he connected on a cross. Kenny S. never had a chance.
Now I grant you, a healthy Beckham will lift this team. Yet I doubt that any team truly fears meeting them in the playoffs. I am looking forward to 2008, as any slight tweak and improvement to TFC will mean two victories over LA. I have my glimmer of hope in safe keeping over the winter...