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Toronto FC knocks Galaxy out of Champions League with 2-1 win

The Galaxy is knocked out of the CONCACAF Champions League and has yet to win this season.

March 14, 2012|By Kevin Baxter
  • Galaxy forward Robbie Keane reacts following the Galaxy's 2-1 loss to Toronto FC in a CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal match at Home Depot Center on Wednesday.
Galaxy forward Robbie Keane reacts following the Galaxy's 2-1 loss… (Bret Hartman / Associated…)

The names are the same and the uniforms are the same.

But the results? Not so much.

Three games into its new season, the Galaxy, Major League Soccer's reigning champion, is still looking for its first win.

And the latest loss was the costliest yet, with Toronto FC riding goals by Ryan Johnson and Nick Soolsma to a 2-1 victory Wednesday at the Home Depot Center, knocking the Galaxy out of the CONCACAF Champions League.

The win sends Toronto on to the tournament semifinals against Mexico's Santos Laguna. With the loss, the Galaxy is probably headed back to the drawing board.

Last year the Galaxy was 27-7-10 in MLS and Champions League play combined. This year the team is winless and has led for less than two minutes — total — in three matches. After going 23 games without a loss at home last season, the Galaxy has now lost two straight in the Home Depot Center for just the second time in five seasons.

"No one else to look at except ourselves in our locker room," Coach Bruce Arena said. "We didn't get the job done in both ends of the field tonight.

"There's not a whole lot to blow up. There's some key areas that have to get better, surely. A couple of plays tonight made a difference."

Both of them involved defender Tommy Meyer. A rookie, Meyer is replacing MLS defender of the year Omar Gonzalez, who is out until midsummer following knee surgery.

Toronto took advantage of his absence in the 34th minute, when Johnson outran him to the far post to head in a long cross from Soolsma.

Toronto gave the advantage back 10 minutes into the second half when defender Ty Harden — who formerly played for the Galaxy — got his foot on a Landon Donovan cross intended for Robbie Keane and deflected it into his own net.

But 12 minutes later Johnson beat Meyer again, chesting down a pass in front of the Galaxy defender on the left wing, dribbling around him to the end line, then bending a left-footed cross to the front of the goal, where Soolsma knocked home the winning score.

"He got caught on a couple of plays," Arena said of Meyer. "Inexperienced player. He's got to do a little better. He's got to learn from it."

Because of a prior agreement with Cal State Dominguez Hills, which shares parking lots with the Home Depot Center, Wednesday's crowd was capped at 7,500.

kevin.baxter@latimes.com

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