Three Points: Villarreal saves the Galaxy late in 2-2 draw

Galaxy Insider Adam Serrano gives his Three Points to the LA Galaxy’s 2-2 draw with Toronto FC

TORONTO – LA Galaxy Insider Adam Serrano gives his Three Points to the LA Galaxy’s 2-2 draw with Toronto FC.

DONOVAN MAKES HIS DEBUT

Less than a week after returning to the LA Galaxy, Landon Donovan made his 2013 debut going 29 minutes for LA.

Immediately upon entering Donovan was handed the captain’s armband by longtime teammate Todd Dunivant, effectively ending any question of whether or not his teammates supported him throughout his absence. Seconds later—six to be exact—Donovan had his first scoring opportunity as Mike Magee found him in space, but his shot was fired right at TFC ‘keeper Joe Bendik for one of his three saves on the day.  As for his competitive spark, Donovan showed plenty of fight a few minutes later when he was involved in a shoving match with TFC captain Darren O’Dea after a foul in the attacking end.

With the CONCACAF Champions League Semifinal series against Monterrey looming, expect Donovan to see plenty of time in CCL play as he looks to regain his sharpness and game fitness.

READ: Donovan on return to team during CCL: "I could potentially see myself playing some role"

SUBSTITUTES MAKE THE DIFFERENCE

Villarreal's Goal

Donovan wasn’t the only person who Bruce Arena turned to provide a spark as second half substitute Jose Villarreal would prove to be the Galaxy’s saving grace.

With the score still tied 1-1, Bruce Arena made another attacking change with his second substitution, sending on Jose Villarreal for Michael Stephens in the 70th minute. Despite missing time earlier this week while battling an illness, the confident young forward was immediately active, unnerving the Toronto defense. Whereas earlier the Galaxy had struggled to break down Toronto, Villarreal’s quickness and movement off the ball sparked several LA chances.  After testing Toronto several times with a few dangerous runs, in stoppage time, Villarreal bailed out the Galaxy as he scored a spectacular scissor kick that flew past Bendik and earned LA a well-deserved point.

At the other end of the field, Toronto FC were able to take a 2-1 lead in the 78th minute when Luis Silva, who had entered the game just six minutes earlier, helped to set ip fellow second half substitute Jonathan Osorio for what looked to be the game-winner.

DEFENSE HOLDS AFTER NERVY START

It wasn’t always pretty, but the LA Galaxy defense was able to hold to give LA their first four game unbeaten start to a season since 2010.  

The Galaxy flew out of the gates, taking a 1-0 lead through Mike Magee, but in the 29th minute a defensive miscommunication between Leonardo and goalkeeper Carlo Cudicini allowed Robert Earnshaw to level the score. After the miscommunication, TFC continued the pressure as they sought to force turnovers and create mismatches in the final third. After Toronto’s second goal, however, the Galaxy held, allowing Jose Villarreal’s goal to level the score late.

The miscommunication is a cause for concern, but LA’s ability to battle back and earn a point after facing their first deficit of the year and continue their unbeaten start to 2013 will boost the team’s collective confidence ahead of Wednesday’s Champions League first leg against Monterrey.

Adam Serrano is the LA Galaxy Insider. Read his blog at LAGalaxy.com/Insider and contact him at LAGalaxyInsider@Gmail.com