MLS- Toronto FC

Johnson scores twice to give Toronto FC place in CCL group stage

Johnson (Getty Images)

Ryan Johnson scored twice in a 10-minute span, and Toronto FC topped Real Esteli, 2-1 (4-2 on aggregate) in Nicaragua Tuesday night to win its CONCACAF Champions League preliminary tie and book a place in the tournament's Group C.

Johnson seized momentum for TFC with a great left-footed volley from just outside the area in the 37th minute to negate Real Esteli's away goal and give Toronto a two-goal aggregate edge. Manuel Rosas brought the hosts back within range with a penalty kick in first-half stoppage time, but Johnson countered just two minutes after the restart, taking advantage of a shaky clearance by Real Esteli goalkeeper Carlos Mendieta to seal the victory.

TFC will compete with Pumas UNAM, Tauro and either Alianza or FC Dallas, whose preliminary tie will be decided Wednesday night, in the group stage.

Highlights from the match are after the jump:


What did you think of TFC's performance? Do you see Toronto having success in the group stage?

Share your thoughts below.

  • Machista Gay


    Ryan “Goofy Face” Johnson! His face always looks like he is bench pressing.


  • kar

    I’ve seen it before in WC Qualifiers, but I’m always amazed at what passes for a field in Central America at times . . .

    Good Luck to Toronto in the CCL!


  • chupacabra

    The pitch was absurd, but not nearly as absurd as the Real Esteli fan who burst into pug-faced tears when they scored off a PK before the end of the first half (and were still behind in aggregate). He made that emotional US fan at last year’s World Cup look like Dolph Lundgren.


  • Charles

    Not trying to rip on you personally kar, but I hate comments like this.

    They might not have the money to build a raised field with a power suction system to take away excess water and state of the art sprinklers to make sure they are perfectly green.

    It is great that we can go to a game in Seattle and they spend $200k or whatever it was to sod a field for one game.

    We are very lucky.

    Not everyone in the world can afford that.


  • chupacabra

    At least they could have trimmed the grass. How much does a used lawnmower cost?


  • Michael F. SBI Mafia Original

    I don’t think his comment is about what other teams can afford. It’s about what FIFA sanctions as a playable field. I agree with him that the field was atrocious. Every league and federation has standards. Even the NFL. Two years ago they canceled a game in Philly I think because the field was not up to proper standards. Nothing wrong with that at all or calling them out on it, IMHO.


  • Rev up those Revs

    I’ve played on similar fields in Austin Texas. That’s the problem with soccer in America. A ton of talented kids in America can get a decent field to play on and affluent white people with no talent get the best. No even close to a meritocracy. Also, I’m middle class and white so don’t say I’m jealous. When my team needed a player we didn’t go looking in the burbs, we went looking in the barrio.


  • Rev up those Revs

    BTW that should say “talented kids can’t get a decent field.

    The point is quit crying about field conditions. Win.


  • hendrix

    Ryan Johnson is great. Why did San Jose give him up? I’ll take him over Gordon, Attakora, and Peterson any day.


  • camjam

    SO I watched the game last night, and was it just me or did Toronto look………..good? I mean, they had their problems (as you’d expect any team that has gone through that much change so quickly) but it looks like they’re building a good team up there.

    Just surprised because i’ve tried watching toronto a couple times this year; it was difficult.


  • Ossington Mental Youth

    although it was against a crap team, we are getting good. Mariner and Winter have started to stock the team with players they believe can play the way they want and its only been 3-4 games but its starting to show. Unfortunately this also means this is our preseason but it also means we will be well prepared next season and hopefully show well in the CCL


  • Meritage

    another steal by TFC front office…Klinsy got them going in the right direction


  • Hubert

    I wouldnt call Real Esteli a crap team, especially at home. I didn’t expect TFC to be able to overhaul the roster quickly. It is an example of what a competent, determined front office can do. It is not as difficult to work the salary cap as some might say. I hope American teams take notice.

    TFC is a nice, deep, young squad that is going to be around for a long time.


  • Will

    Passion is not absurd. A lot of American teams could use CCL support like this. They seem to get it.


  • chupacabra

    There’s passion, and then there’s absurdity. That Real Esteli fan was the futbol equivalent of the double rainbow dude.


  • Farhad

    San Jose let him go because he couldn’t score in the defensive style that coach Yallop uses– long balls from the deep defensive areas or wings to a big target man with no center-midfield distribution.

    Johnson was stuck in the wings and once in a while placed up top but with limited service, he couldn’t score and his confidence went down.

    As a Earthquakes fan, I’m glad he is doing good and hope that it provides that we need a new head coach in San Jose. We are tried of this mediocre style of play that Frank Yallop has imposed for over 4 years now. Not to mention, fans sit in a plywood-constructed stadium (cheap ownership).


  • chupacabra

    Oh my God! It’s a weak PK goal against a bottom-dwelling MLS team from Canada! What does it mean?!


  • Joe

    Well it meant alot to them. They come from a semi professional league and to at least be competive against a team from one of the top leagues in concaf must have been a real moment of joy for nicaraguan fans.


  • Ossington Mental Youth

    i should have written “getting better”

    WIthout a doubt our team would be nothing without Winter right now, hes almost certainly been behind all of the MLS trades and im glad they are panning out (so far).

    I didnt mean to dismiss Real Esteli by anymeans i dont think we will see quite the leeway we were given by them from other MLS teams, not yet anyways.


  • Mcgee

    agree that Yallop is awful….another MLS 1.0 coach that isn’t relevant anymore


  • Ossington Mental Youth

    Klinnsman has been pretty hands off after finding the FO and bringing over Frings. He has not been involved in the day to day runnings of the team. Winter doesnt know anything about MLS players, Mariner actually did loads at NE, look how well theyve done without him…


  • gigi

    Toronto’s singings seem to be pushing them in the right direction, picked up alot of quality players. just gotta get some more defenders in and they would be a really good squad next season.


  • DCLee

    I thought it was cool to see their stadium packed and cheering for their team vs TFC. I was glad TFC won but happy for their fans that they got to see a CCL game. TFC does seem to be improving. We see them this weekend in DC.


  • Reg

    +1…Chupa is just annoyed he’ll never have the same passion for his adopted euroclub


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