Struggling Reds to Battle Mexican Power Santos in CONCACAF Semifinal Play

Toronto FC will host a very tough Mexican side, Santos Laguna, at BMO Field tonight in the first leg of the CONCACAF Champions League Semi-Finals.  Toronto drew Santos after a great victory against MLS Champions LA Galaxy just a few weeks ago.  Santos demolished Seattle in their quarterfinal, winning 7-2 on aggregate. Coming off of a high from two well-played fixtures against LA, Toronto FC has come crashing down in league play, losing both their league and home openers to Seattle and San Jose with disappointing play. Not only is Toronto playing terrible football, but they are also suffering with injuries to captain and star player Torsten Frings and goalkeeper Stefan Frei.  Toronto's defense has been terrible in their two league fixtures, giving up three goals in both of their MLS games.  As if their defensive problems were not enough, Santos is a high-scoring side.  Hopefully the crowd at BMO can be the difference in this match; however, Toronto should be considered huge underdogs in this CONCACAF match. Toronto should aim not to concede in this match; if they can squeeze out a 0-0 draw or 1-0 victory, this would be a great step towards the second leg. The second leg in Mexico is going to undoubtedly be extremely ...
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Toronto FC vs. San Jose: Previewing Toronto’s Home Opener This Saturday

Toronto play host to the San Jose Earthquakes this Saturday at BMO Field.  This will not be Toronto's first home game this year, but their first home MLS competition. Toronto will be without captain and star player Torsten Frings this Saturday as he suffered a hamstring injury against Seattle last week.  Frings will be absent from the squad for about six weeks due to this injury.  Julian de Guzman will wear the captain's band for The Reds in Frings' absence. Toronto will likely field a young and very inexperienced back four again this week.  Frings had been filling in at central defense the past few CONCACAF and league fixtures due to past injuries to Adrian Cann and Dicoy Williams.  With Frings' injury, Toronto's back four will likely read: Richard Eckersley, Ty Harden, Aaron Maund and Ashtone Morgan.  Hopefully, Aron Winter chooses to employ much safer tactics for this match as he has been deploying a very nervous and ineffective high offside trap in the past few fixtures.  Toronto escaped lucky against LA Galaxy. However, a speedy Seattle team forced Toronto to pay for running their chances with the offside trap.  San Jose will come into town with a home win against New England ...
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Ryan Johnson Emerging as a Star in His Second Season with Toronto FC

Ryan Johnson has been on fire as of late.After a sub-par 2011 season, the striker/winger has recently been finding the net with some beautiful goals.Johnson has scored three goals in three games thus far this season with Toronto—one in each of the CONCACAF quarterfinal legs with LA Galaxy, and again this past Saturday against Seattle Sounders.Johnson was a spark plug in the CONCACAF matches in the past few weeks.  His speed has exploited opposition defense and his deadly accuracy in finishing and crossing lifted Toronto to glory. Jamaican native Ryan Johnson arrived in Toronto in the middle of last season from San Jose Earthquakes, July of 2011.  Now an MLS veteran of six seasons, Johnson is finding the form that he lacked throughout his early career. He was drafted in 2006 by Real Salt Lake and after just seven games, he was traded to Chicago Fire where he appeared in just three more games that season.  Johnson found his ways overseas with Swedish club Osters in 2007, when he failed to earn another contract in Chicago.  In 2008, Johnson headed back to the MLS with the San Jose Earthquakes, finally finding a permanent home. In 99 games, he registered just 17 goals.Johnson's trade to Toronto may ...
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A Canadian Perspective of Week 2 in the MLS

Week 2 of MLS play saw all three Canadian teams in action for the first time in MLS history.  Montreal hosted Chicago Fire at a packed Olympic Stadium. The Vancouver Whitecaps were on the road to face Chivas USA, and Toronto FC had a tough season opener at Century Link Field in Seattle. Here's how all these fixtures played out.Begin Slideshow
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10 Things Toronto FC Showed Us in the CONCACAF Champions League Quarterfinals

After beating MLS champions LA Galaxy in an exciting two game series, Toronto FC has advanced to the CONCACAF Champions League semifinals, riding a high felt for undoubtedly the first time in the clubs' short history.  In the first game, Toronto tied the Galaxy at a packed Rogers Centre in Toronto. In the second game in Los Angeles, Toronto won to advance to the semifinals. With these two matches under their belt, Toronto looks confident going forward as MLS play starts. This article will discuss 10 things we learned from Toronto FC's play in the CONCACAF Champions League. Begin Slideshow
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CONCACAF Quarterfinals: Nervous Win for Toronto FC as They Defeat LA Galaxy

With the CONCACAF quarterfinals officially a rap, here are my initial reactions and comments on the LA Galaxy/Toronto FC game.It was a nerve-wracking CONCACAF quarterfinal second leg, and The LA  Galaxy targeted the weak Toronto defense play after play. However, this was a very sloppy match overall for both sides. Toronto started with the same formation they used last Wednesday in Toronto for the first leg of the CONCACAF Quarter finals. With LA clinching a late 2-2 tie in Toronto, the pressure was on for a win. Unfortunately, this game wasn't a big draw in Los Angeles, and the stadium wasn't anywhere near its capacity of 47,000 fans. This ambivalence set the tone for the match.The game had a sluggish feel to it in the early minutes of the game. Toronto struck first, off the head of Ryan Johnson.  LA quickly responded to the goal, challenging Toronto's very high defensive line play after play. Although a  few questionable officiating calls went Toronto's way, the score remained 1-0 heading into the half.  Despite being narrowly beaten on every long ball the Galaxy chipped over the slow and outnumbered Toronto defense, this same pattern continued into the second half. Landon Donovan beat his man to the ...
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The Greatest Toronto FC Goals of All Time

Despite having a rather young history, there have been a number of world-class goals achieved at Toronto Football Club. Whether from set piece, penalty or in open action, all of these goals share something in common— greatness.  Take a moment to view some of the best goals that have been achieved in the five-year history of Toronto FC.Begin Slideshow
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Toronto FC Sign 24-Year-Old Central Defender Logan Emory

With Toronto's defense still very weak due to the lengthy injuries of Adrian Cann and Dicoy Williams, manager Aron Winter has completed the signing of the young American center-back, Logan Emory.Emory has been on trial throughout the preseason, and has obviously impressed the Toronto staff. In an interview with, Winter said of his new signing: “Logan is a strong young defender and he has many qualities we like to see in a player.  "We were impressed with his work ethic during his trial period in Orlando and I felt he performed well against Vancouver in our final preseason match. Logan gives us another option in defence and fits in well with our team’s style of play.” Emory has played two seasons in USSF Division 2 with the Puerto Rico Islanders, and played a major role in his club's success in 2010.  Puerto Rico reached the CONCACAF semi-finals, only to be beaten on penalties by Cruz Azul of Mexico. In 2011, Emory logged the most minutes of any Islander, becoming a mainstay in the center of defense.Undoubtedly, the MLS is a major step up from the USSF. However, hopefully Winter and company have found their help in the back with this young defender from Boise.  His success ...
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Toronto FC vs. LA Galaxy Drew Capacity Crowd at Toronto Rogers Centre

The CONCACAF quarterfinals began last Wednesday when LA Galaxy clashed with Toronto FC at the Rogers Centre.I was lucky enough to be at attendance for this star-studded game.  Despite being played on artificial turf and being indoors, this game had everything a fan from either team could have hoped for. It was announced that over 47, 000 people were at attendance for this match.  The stadium was jumping, enthusiastic and ready for greatness.  Toronto, the underdogs of the match despite being at home, sent the home fans into a frenzy early with an early strike off a corner kick.  A fortunate bounce ended with the ball on Ryan Johnson's foot, which he quickly sent in behind the keeper to give Toronto an early lead in the 12' of play.  The crowd erupted and the sound was deafening.Just five minutes later, the fans exploded again.  A rookie midfielder landed his head on a Torsten Frings cross just inside the top of the 18-yard box.  He placed his header beautifully just inside the goalpost to put Toronto up by two early.  This goal was absolutely beautiful, if you haven't already seen it you must watch it.  Toronto was up two early and in control of the match. However, a goaltending error changed the course ...
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MLS Review: Toronto FC’s Offseason Analysis

It has been a long wait for MLS fans to see their clubs back out on the pitch. With the offseason coming to an end and all clubs back training, it is time to assess Toronto's side in preparation for next season. Like a few other MLS sides, Toronto's season starts extremely early this year. The first leg of the CONCACAF Champions League Quarter Final against the LA Galaxy will be played in Toronto on March 7, 2012. This will certainly be an extremely difficult fixture, as LA has retained all the big pieces from its MLS Cup winning team this past year. Depth and Breadth Despite lacking the star power that other teams possess, it is clearly evident that Toronto finally possess something they have lacked since their young beginnings: depth. Toronto has quality and proven depth in nearly every position on the pitch.They also have two very capable designated players in Frings and Koevermans and a wild-card third in De Guzman. Frings and Koevermans both proved their value in the later stages of last season. Frings provided leadership and the ability to control the pace of the game, and Koevermans saw immediate success in front of goal. Keeper Dilemma The goalie situation in Toronto is certainly a luxury to have. Currently, both Stefan Frei ...
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