Toronto Draws Santos In CCL
Photo: Miguel Aceval celebrates his goal at BMO Field (Paul Giamou/TorontoFC.ca).
TORONTO — Santos Laguna’s Herculez Gomez and Toronto FC’s Miguel Aceval matched first half goals and the visitors from Mexico held on despite playing a man down for more than 15 minutes in the teams’ 1-1 draw on Wednesday, before 18,950 fans at BMO Field in the opening leg of their CONCACAF Champions League semifinal series.
The series concludes April 4 in Torreón, Mexico, with TFC looking for their first berth in the CCL final and the second for Major League Soccer in as many years.
The night started on a sour note for TFC, who fell behind in the 30th minute off a goal from Gomez. The US international took a feed from Carlos Quintero on the right side and deposited a shot past TFC goalkeeper Milos Kocic. His top competition Stefan Frei suffered a broken leg during workouts last week.
Video: Game In Six minutes.
The Reds responded, however, from an unlikely source. Aceval pounded a tricky free kick from 30 yards out that bounded past Santos goalkeeper Oswaldo Sánchez, evening the match headed into the break.
TFC struggled to pull ahead, however, and failed to capitalize after Santos defender Osmar Mares was sent off for a studs-up tackle on Toronto’s Richard Eckersley in the 77th minute.
Striker Ryan Johnson had the team's best chance in the 64th minute off a pinpoint cross from midfielder Julian de Guzman, but Sánchez tipped Johnson's right-footed redirection just wide of the far post. Midfielder Terry Dunfield also had a good look go wide when he flicked a shot with his right foot off the mark in the 72nd minute.
TFC striker Danny Koevermans was issued a yellow card in the 36th minute for dissent, meaning he’ll be suspended for the second leg of the series next week.
The Reds could also be without Aceval, who was subbed out of the game for rookie center back Aaron Maund in 49th minute with an injury. Gomez was also subbed out for Santos after suffering an injury due to a collision with Kocic in the 69th minute.
31' Santos Laguna - Herculez Gomez
37' Toronto - Miguel Aceval
36' Toronto - Danny Koevermans (caution)
76' Santos Laguna - Marc Crosas (caution)
77' Santos Laguna - Osmar Mares (ejection)
90+6' Santos Laguna - Carlos Darwin Quintero (ejection)
Toronto - Milos Kocic; Richard Eckersley, Ty Harden, Miguel Aceval (Aaron Maund 49'), Ashtone Morgan; Reggie Lambe, Julian de Guzman, Terry Dunfield; Nick Soolsma (Joao Plata 72'), Danny Koevermans, Ryan Johnson ... Substitutes not used: Brian Rowe; Adrian Cann, Luis Silva, Burgos Jr.
Santos Laguna - Oswaldo Sanchez; Osmar Mares, Aaron Galindo, Santiago Hoyos, Jorge Estrada (Cesar Ibanez 45'); Rodolfo Salinas, Christian Suarez, Marc Crosas; Carlos Ochoa (Oribe Peralta 62'), Herculez Gomez (Candido Ramirez 69'), Carlos Quintero ... Substitutes not used: Miguel Becerra; Felipe Baloy, Jaime Toledo, Carlos Morales