Last night, inevitability caught up with MLS strugglers, Toronto FC.
The Canadians were dumped out of the CONCACAF Champions League at the culmination of their two-leg tie with Santos Laguna, a contest that has fostered a new rivalry – or “war”, as it has been described in the media – between TFC and the Mexicans.
The two teams battled, quite literally, to a 1-1 draw during their first encounter at the BMO Field on March 29. Hercules Gomez grabbed the goal for Santos after half an hour, but Toronto’s Chilean midfielder, Miguel Angel Acavel, managed to find an equaliser seven minutes later.
However, the match was overshadowed by a post-match altercation between TFC’s Ashtone Morgan and Darwin Quintero, of Santos. Quintero was sent off for an incident that left Morgan rolling on the grass, a development that prompted a huge brawl, inclusive of players, coaches and even security guards, on the edge of the box.
The stakes could not have been higher for the return leg, especially after Gomez issued the rather incendiary challenge – “can you imagine what we can do to Toronto in Torreon [Santos' home]?” – in the wake of last week’s clash. Disappointingly, for fans and soccer betting tips writers at least, TFC did not deliver on the promise they showed during the first leg.
Aron Winter’s Toronto were flattened 6-2 on Wednesday evening for an overall aggregate loss of 7-3. The result had appeared to be almost a foregone conclusion before the kick-off, given that the Reds are currently rock-bottom in the Eastern Conference, with a W-L-T statistic of 0-3-0.
Toronto took the lead courtesy of Joao Plata. The ever-present Gomez equalised fifteen minutes later, before Plata added his second just before half-time. Concluding the exchange; Gomez evened the odds in the second minute of injury time. At 2-2 at the break, TFC had reason to be confident.
Santos had ostensibly been saving up their energy for the big finale – something punters who bet on soccer games should take note of the next time they play. The green and white outfit scored four over the next 48 minutes to set up an all-Mexican Champions League final with Monterrey. Juan Rodriguez slotted home two penalties in quick succession. Oribe Peralta and Daniel Luduena added goals number five and six for Santos.