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Toronto FC aiming for Santos Laguna upset with CCL final berth on the line

Johnson (Reuters Pictures)

Toronto FC is a win away from becoming the second consecutive MLS team to reach the finals of the CONCACAF Champions League.

That win, however, needs to come in a house of horrors for visiting teams against a club that is hitting on all cylinders during its rise to the top of the Mexican Clausura standings.

The odds are stacked against TFC as they prepare for tonight's CCL semifinal second leg against Santos Laguna in Torreon, Mexico (8 p.m., Fox Soccer Channel), where they will try to become the first non-Mexican club to eliminate a Mexican team in the knockout rounds of the tournament.

Miguel Aceval's free kick in last week's first leg cancelled out Herculez Gomez' opening goal (Gomez' seventh straight match with a goal) to level the aggregate at 1-1, but with Santos having the away-goal edge, TFC must come out attacking and cannot afford to sit back. TFC will be without two of their Designated Players, though, as Torsten Frings remains sidelined with a hamstring injury and Danny Koevermans is suspended for yellow card accumulation.

That leaves the onus on players like Ryan Johnson, Nick Soolsma, Joao Plata and rookie Luis Silva to come up with enough firepower to offset Gomez & Co., who posted six goals on the Seattle Sounders in their quarterfinal leg south of the border. With fullback Osmar Mares and forward Darwin Quintero suspended for Santos Laguna, hope remains for TFC, a club that has yet to earn a point and has managed just one goal in three MLS matches.

If they can pull off the unthinkable, it will be just another defiant step in the CCL journey for TFC. A club that wasn't supposed to get out of the group stage. A club that had no shot against the Los Angeles Galaxy in the quarterfinals. A club that was poised to get blown out at home in the first leg of this semifinal series.

For more about the crucial match for the Reds, here is Fox Soccer's preview of the game, along with a video of Aron Winter talking about his approach for the second leg and Johnson breaking down Santos Laguna and what TFC need to do to be successful.


What's your take on tonight's second leg? Do you think TFC have any shot of getting a result in Mexico?

Share your thoughts below. 


  1. the referee on the last game santos vs toronto
    was on torontos side .and we all saw that it show at the end of the game
    it turn out ugly thanks to the ref.
    he spoil the game .

  2. I want an MLS team to get into the final, but I love watching Herculez Gomez score goals also. Herc needs to be a starter for the USMNT! He is a scoring machine. What do we have to lose by starting him? It’s not like Jozy Altidore knows how to find the net.

  3. Actually Hendrix is spot on. If Toronto are to go through without a “win” in Mexico, any TIE of 2-2, 3-3, 4-4 etc will give TFC the aggregate win on away goals. Why are you calling people names?

  4. Unfortunately I heavily doubt TFC has got what it takes to win @ Santos… We’re talking ’bout one mean team in one mean house, not only are they point of reference in the CCL, but are also riding the high wave in their local trouney.

    And besides, let’s face it, Mexican teams send their B teams to the CCL until the final stages when they see the ticket is one step away. It would have to be one of those “all-goes-wrong” nights for Santos not to advance, but let’s say the soccer gods are up for some humor tonight… so TFC goes one more step further… they still have Monterrey to deal with, with the closing match @ Monterrey…

    Need I say more? Let’s hope we can do better next year, there’s always “next year/next time” for MLS

  5. Aside from the hyperbole, your analogy still stinks.

    APOEL have to overcome a -3 GD against a far superior team.

    Toronto need any sort of draw (even if it goes to 120′) against a somewhat better team who has 2 starters sitting with red cards.

  6. I’m hoping the more I say “TFC has no chance” the more fate wants to prove me wrong…

    Doubtful on that though. The difference in quality between the two teams is large.

  7. If Ryan Johnson can get a knee to the face of half the players on Santos I think they got a shot 🙂

    Seriously they have a punchers chance. TFC can score goals so you never know. If Santos doesn’t score in the first 15 minutes it should at least be an interesting game. I personally think TFC will be in for a while then Santos will score 2 goals in a 5 minute stretch or less and the dream will be over.

  8. I agree they should lose, but they also should have lost to the Galaxy in the quarter and Santos in Toronto. They play well above their paygrade when it comes to CCL matches. They didn’t have Frings in the Toronto match either.

    Cinderella story probably ends tonight, but its been a good run.

  9. Everyone was saying that TFC have no chance against Santos in Torreon… but thats what everyone was saying against the Galaxy in LA… and that my friends is why the game is played on the pitch and not on paper.


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