The L.A. Galaxy's run in the CONCACAF Champion's League came to a crushing end tonight as Toronto FC eliminated the heavy favorites by beating L.A. at home 2-1. In a contest that was the third game for L.A. in eight days, the Galaxy looked exhausted most of the evening which will lead to questions about the way Bruce Arena managed the roster over the three game stretch, which included an away 2-2 draw in a Champions League match at Toronto and a 3-1 home loss against RSL in the MLS opener.
Toronto opened the scoring with a Ryan Johnson goal and took the lead for good with a Nick Soolsma goal in the 67th minute. L.A.'s only score came on a Ty Harden own goal in the opening minutes of the second half.
The negative impact of fatigue on the Galaxy players was clearly evident all night. Robbie Keane blew scoring chances, the biggest coming in the second half during a one on one contest vs. TFC keeper Kocic which he failed to convert. David Beckham's free kicks sailed directly into the Toronot wall, and L.A. looked sluggish and unsharp.
Arena used seven players for the full 90 in all three games and nine started all three. The opening RSL game suddenly doesn't seem very important and this loss will sting a Galaxy team that was supposed to be Major League Soccer's best chance to win the Mexican dominated tournament.
Bruce Arena is the three-time MLS Coach of the Year, and the Galaxy and Bruce will rebound from losing back to back games at the Home Depot Center for the first time in five years, but this one will sting for a long time.
My 3 Takeaways
1. Arena gambled by playing so many key players so many minutes over the last eight days and it backfired. The RSL game was meaningless compared to the Champions League. Bruce will rebound but this one will hurt for awhile.
2. Robbie Keane needs to regain the form he showed at the end of last season. He looks tentative and is having a hard time finishing. Keane is key to the Galaxy repeating as MLS Cup Champions.
3. The defense misses Omar Gonzalez, but Omar isn't coming back anytime soon due to injury. The defense has to improve for L.A. to succeed.