It was supposed to be the sendoff game for Galaxy forwards Landon Donovan and Edson Buddle before they leave to join the U.S. team as it prepares for the World Cup.
Posters were handed out. Handmade signs decorated the stadium. One said: "Buddle Scores Again," with the letters U, S and A picked out in red.
But Buddle didn't score. Neither did Donovan. Neither did the Galaxy.
Toronto FC came into Saturday night's Major League Soccer game at the Home Depot Center unimpressed by the fact that Buddle leads the league in goals and that Donovan leads it in assists.
To the Canadian team, it was just another game — to be won, if possible, to be tied if not. The result was a 0-0 stalemate that left the Galaxy at 7-0-2 and Toronto at 3-4-1.
At the final whistle, which followed a furious final five minutes of regulation and another furious five minutes of injury time as the Galaxy applied intense offensive pressure, the two coaches met and briefly shook hands.
The Galaxy's Bruce Arena wasn't smiling. Neither was Toronto's Preki. It was a perfunctory handshake at best.
Preki, the former Chivas USA coach, was unhappy at some of the calls made in the game. Arena was unhappy at Preki's constant complaints to the fourth official. Call it a tie.
The final statistics showed the Galaxy with a 15-7 advantage in shots on goal, including 4-1 in shots on target. The Galaxy came close to scoring but was thwarted by a packed and stubborn defense anchored by inspired Swiss goalkeeper Stefan Frei.
It was Buddle, who has nine goals in nine games but none in his last three, who was closest to breaking the deadlock.
Sixty-six minutes into the game, he took a pass from Donovan and, with defenders all over him, fired a shot against the left post from no more than three or four yards, with Frei clearing the rebound.
Seven minutes later, Buddle unleashed a grass-burning shot from distance, but Frei dived low to his left to turn the ball away with an outstretched arm.
Donovan's best effort was a first-half shot that sailed over the crossbar.
Toronto had scoring chances, but they were few and far between.
Each team took the field without one of its usual starters. For the Galaxy, goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts was sidelined because of a strained right elbow suffered in training last week. For Toronto, midfielder Julian de Guzman was a late scratch because of a left hamstring injury.
Josh Saunders started in the nets in place of Ricketts and the game was not yet 10 minutes old when he was called upon to make a sprawling save at the near post off a fierce shot by Chad Barrett, the former UCLA striker.
The first half was an uneventful affair, serving only to extend Saunders' streak of minutes without giving up a goal from 307 minutes to 352. By the final whistle, Saunders had stretched that to 397 minutes.
On Sunday, Donovan and Buddle fly to New Jersey to join the U.S. team in camp at Princeton University.
Two of Toronto's players also have a trip planned. De Guzman and Dwayne De Rosario have been called up for Canada's game against World Cup-bound Argentina in Buenos Aires on May 24.