CARSON, Calif. – The Los Angeles Galaxy had nearly everything set up for success, but a feisty Toronto FC wasn't in those plans. TFC earned their first road point of the season and shut down the Galaxy in the process as the teams tied 0-0 on Saturday at The Home Depot Center.
The match was the last game for Galaxy stars Landon Donovan and Edson Buddle, who will depart for US training camp on Sunday and could be away from their club for six weeks or more.
While the match was meaningful for the Galaxy, it was Toronto FC who came out with more poise and discipline. The Reds lost star Julian de Guzman in warm-ups as he was a late scratch and replaced in the starting lineup by Martin Saric. Still, the visitors came out unfazed and had a pair of chances in the first 10 minutes that came close to finding the back of the net.
The hosts, meanwhile, were being pushed off the ball by feisty Toronto attackers. TFC ‘keeper Stefan Frei was barely tested in the opening 45 minutes as defender Nana Attakora helped contain Buddle. Donovan, meanwhile, couldn't find the ball much amidst Toronto’s well-stacked defense.
In the second half, the visitors maintained the pressure and nearly forced the Galaxy into a red card. Omar Gonzalez slid and knocked Chad Barrett from behind just as Barrett was set to break into the penalty area but Gonzalez received a yellow card for the challenge.
It wasn't until the 66th minute that Donovan and Buddle showed true danger. Donovan slipped free down the left side of the penalty area and fed Buddle, who re-directed the pass on goal. The ball, though, slammed off the crossbar and was cleared out by Toronto’s defense.
Toronto nearly took the lead when Gabe Gala, who replaced Dwayne De Rosario midway through the second half, slipped a well-placed ball to the middle of the box. Barrett was alone in front of the goal but couldn't find the handle on the ball and missed a chance to give his team the lead.
Mike Magee had a late chance for the Galaxy as he fired a shot on goal from point-blank range in stoppage time, but Frei did well to knock the ball out for a corner kick.
Toronto’s Maksim Usanov was sent off in stoppage time after picking up his second yellow card, but the extra player was of no use to the Galaxy.
LA -- Omar Gonzalez (caution; Reckless Tackle) 50
TOR -- Maksim Usanov (caution; Reckless Foul) 61
TOR -- Maksim Usanov (caution; Tactical Foul) 94+
TOR -- Maksim Usanov (ejection; Second Caution) 94+
Toronto FC -- Stefan Frei, Maksim Usanov, Nana Attakora, Nick Garcia, Adrian Cann, Sam Cronin, Amadou Sanyang, Martin Saric, Nick LaBrocca (Jacob Peterson 63), Chad Barrett (Joseph Nane 78), Dwayne De Rosario (Gabe Gala 70).
Los Angeles Galaxy -- Josh Saunders, Bryan Jordan (Chris Klein 69), Omar Gonzalez, Gregg Berhalter, Todd Dunivant, Michael Stephens, Christopher Birchall, Juninho (Mike Magee 73), Jovan Kirovski (Clint Mathis 77), Edson Buddle, Landon Donovan.
Referee: Jair Marrufo
Referee's Assistants: Darren Clark; Ian Anderson
4th Official: Kevin Stott
Time of Game: 1:53
Weather: Cloudy and 58 degrees