Villarreal’s late equalizer earns Galaxy a draw at Toronto FC

JoseVillarreal (The Canadian Press)

By JUSTIN FERGUSON

While Landon Donovan made his long-awaited return to action as a 61st minute substitute against Toronto, two other second-half substitutions stole the show at BMO Field on Saturday afternoon.

Jose Villarreal’s acrobatic equalizer in stoppage time erased a late go-ahead goal from Toronto rookie Jonathan Osorio as the Los Angeles Galaxy and Toronto FC played out a thrilling 2-2 contest.

Osorio, making his third appearance off the bench for his new club, knocked in a low cross from fellow substitute Luis Silva in the 78th minute to give Toronto a 2-1 lead. Silva received a backheel flick from TFC forward Robert Earnshaw before slicing a hopeful effort around LA’s Omar Gonzalez and into the path of a charging Osorio.

The Galaxy pressed for the game-tying goal in the final 15 minutes, but Toronto’s defense cleared any danger from Joe Bendik’s net.

It appeared that Toronto was going to earn three points from the defending champions until defender Darel Russell headed a long-distance cross from Gonzalez right back into the middle of the box. Villarreal, who was subbed on in the 70th minute, placed a beautiful scissor-kick past Bednik with just seconds left in the match.

Toronto would get one more chance to find a last-gasp winner, but a short corner kick was cleared by the Galaxy to seal the tie.

It was a dramatic finish for the Galaxy squad, which got on the board first in 16th minute. Mike Magee scored his fifth goal in four league matches for Los Angeles, tapping in a Marcelo Sarvas mishit at the back post.

Despite the absence of offensive leader Robbie Keane, Los Angeles controlled the early proceedings on Saturday. But a mistake from defender Leonardo and goalkeeper Carlo Cudicini shifted the momentum in Toronto’s favor right at the half-hour mark.

Leonardo attempted a pass back to Cudicini, but the ball was severely mishit by the Brazilian. Cudicini charged off his line and out of the box to try to collect the bad pass. Toronto’s Earnshaw then beat Cudicini to the ball and laced a long-range shot into the open net for the equalizer.

The Galaxy struggled to generate offensive chances after the giveaway goal. Donovan was introduced just after the hour mark in hopes of sparking the offense, and his first touch of the 2013 season was Los Angeles’s first scoring chance of the second half. The Galaxy captain knifed through the Toronto defense to get onto the end of a Magee through ball, but his shot was easily saved by Joe Bednik.

Toronto would take the lead less than 20 minutes later on the Osorio redirection, his first goal as a professional. The home side was well on its way to a famous home win, but Russell’s errant header allowed Villarreal to equalize on an acrobatic kick.

The Galaxy, which improved to 2-0-2 on the season, returns to The Home Depot Center for Wednesday’s CONCACAF Champions League semifinal match against Monterrey. Toronto, now 1-2-1, hosts FC Dallas next Saturday.

Here are the match highlights:

 

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64 Responses to Villarreal’s late equalizer earns Galaxy a draw at Toronto FC

  1. Fredo says:

    Great to see Landon back. And, sweet finish by Villarreal to earn the point. Go Galaxy!

    • only me says:

      yeah, he is crazy.

    • Dennis says:

      Magee, besides the goal, had one header spectacularly saved and put himself in good spots to get shots all night. How does the guy who is presently leading MLS in goals get left alone so often?

      Donavon should have done better with the through ball from Magee. It would have been sweet if he could have scored with his first touch since returning.

      Gonzalez showed some weakness 1v1 defending in the setup of Toronto’s second goal.

      • Seriously says:

        Gonzalez was on an island out there and actually did well, the cross he forced was pretty tame, but if you just let runners go free in the box a six year old’s cross will get a finishing touch.

  2. AzTeXan says:

    Something something Landon Donovan something something.

    PS Villarreal should take his spot for the nats.

  3. Steve-o says:

    Hope to see Villarreal at gold cup

    • ChrisTheLSUTiger says:

      I would say that he’s more than earned it.

    • 2tone says:

      Uhm Villarreal will be with the U-20’s. And yes The Gold Cup and U-20 WC overlap.

      • Old School says:

        I don’t think it’s a foregone conclusion Villarreal will be with the u-20’s if this form holds up.

        Also, it’s worth noting, Jozy could very well be in JK’s doghouse again for whining/loafing against Mexico.

        • Jake says:

          Unless he’s playing at an MLS All-Star level, going to the U-20s would be better.

          • Old School says:

            Based on what?

            He’s 19. This is soccer, not the NFL. If he’s ready to play or get experience at the senior level, 19 years (20 in 6 months) is a reasonable age to cut his teeth.

            No one is saying he’s a prodigy or the next Freddy Adu. However, if he can contribute or add depth, so be it.

            As I said: If he continues this form, there’s no question he should be given consideration.

            • James says:

              When Keane and Donovan return, he’s a bench player, at best, on an MLS team.

              That’s not exactly National Team caliber. Once he gets some regular minutes on an MLS club team (like a season), we can talk. Until then, the U-20s would be a great place for his to ply his trade.

              • drew11 says:

                Villarreal will be in the rotation and get 20+ appearances this year as a 19 year old. He already has 7 starts and 500 minutes and we are not out of March.

                Keane and Donovan are both on the wrong side of 30 and prone to injury. JV will get a good amount of starts this year.

                That is far more than a “bench” player. Agudelo got caps at a similar stage of his development. I don’t care either way but JV is now legitimately on the radar of the full NT.

              • Edwin in LA says:

                I have to agree with drew11….Donovan will most likely play Right Mid, Magee left mid and Villareal will partner with Keane! McBean will most likely be the bench option, him along with Gyasi Zardes when he gets healthy in about 2 weeks and in form say in a month or so…will be the 2 back up forwards, who will get USOC starts & also MLS games when in late May and all of June Keane & maybe LD will be with National teams….Colin Clark will move to the bench for now but will be needed later

              • GW says:

                In terms of Galaxy forwards I would hope JK is evaluating LD, Magee and Villarreal.

                JK has pointed out that he was not capped until he was , I believe, 24 so he isn’t a great believer in rushing players. On the other hand he has capped Gatt and Agudelo so if you bring something special to the table I doubt JK will hold your age against you. And its not like the US does not need people who can put it in the net.

                If Villarreal stays hot anything is possible.

  4. Catamount says:

    Really disappointed in Leonardo. Throughout his career at the Galaxy he has always been worth a goal every three games or so for the opponent. I would be happy to see AJ in the middle until Tommy Meyers returns. At least Bruce removed Leonardo for Villareal soon enough to salvage a tie. The giveaway goal gave TFC hope in a game that they were thoroughly outplayed. After the mistake Leonardo showed severe lack of confidence, and other members of the team had to cover for him.

    There has been frequent miscommunication between Carducci and Leonardo in other games this year. Not sure why Bruce is so anxious to split up Omar and AJ as central defenders. They’ve won championships in one third of the seasons they’ve played as a center back pairing. I think the Galaxy were better when Tommy Meyer came in and Franklin moved to midfield. With Leonardo they get worse.

    Carducci is not an upgrade over Saunders. Perk may have an opportunity to become the starter.

    • ld says:

      After TFC’s first goal they thoroughly outplayed the Galaxy for the rest of the game so TFC more than deserved a point from this game.

      • Catamount says:

        Not sure what game you were watching. To say TFC dominated the game is a huge stretch. One good goal and a lot of really purposeless passing. Earnshaw is a predator, but Leonardo’s mistake had to be compounded by Cudiccini’s poor judgement for him to score.

        The Galaxy dominated the game except for around 20 minutes. Pretty easy to see.

        • ld says:

          to say the Galaxy dominated the game you must be blind. TFC’s second goal was pure class but I guess you must have missed that too

          • ld says:

            this comment is being modded..really?

          • Catamount says:

            You are certainly entitled to your opinion. I’m basing my analysis on the evidence from both Opta and commentary that show the Galaxy controlling the midfield for long stretches. So I will amend my comments to say that the Galaxy controlled the midfield for all but about 20 minutes. Any joy TFC had came from bypassing the midfield and Galaxy mistakes.

            I also said that TFC scored a good goal. Good decisions with the ball and good creative execution in the final third. This is a new and pleasant development for a team that has been entirely hapless for several years.

            Based upon what I saw, TFC were fortunate to be up a goal. The Galaxy had more and better chances. Both teams gave away a goal with poor defensive plays. Leo and Cudiccini as previously stated and poor pressure on Gonzalez long ball into the box and a poor header by a TFC defender under pressure from Magee. Villareal had way more to do than Earnshaw on the finish.

            So if I seemed to be flippant in my comments, I am sorry. Apparently we saw the same game very differently.

    • Chupacabra says:

      Who is Carducci? Some guy with a pizzeria?

  5. KungFuSoccer says:

    It was only a matter of time before confused-icini gave up a goal like that. His decision making has been questionable almost every game. Seems like he’s a step down from Saunders not up. Frankly, I never understood the Saunders hate in the first place. The dude delivered when called upon.

    It must be in Villareal’s contract that every goal must be highlight reel worthy. All of his goals are wow moments.

    Leonardo has always been mistake prone, and the fact that he’s big doesn’t make up for it.

    You have to love Magee. Somehow he gets himself into the right position again and again, and his shooting skills have improved drastically since joining the Galaxy.

  6. Steve-o says:

    Btw magee should be in the gold cup team too – hes a big reason la is still good without their stars

    • K says:

      no i don’t think so. The Gold Cup should be for players that have a chance to be in the WC squad and to get a look at some young players that are international quality.

      • Old School says:

        Call it a hunch, but I think this perception is flat out wrong.

        The amount of lineups JK has willingly or forced due to injury has given him a great scope of players that can contribute (or not).

        I wouldn’t be surprised to see JK go for it, even though it’s meaningless, and try to make a statement in the region and namely, against Mexico…leading into Brazil.

        • GW says:

          Old School and K,

          I don’t see much difference between your two positions. JK has a year left and a lot of decisions , I’d say more than Bradley had, to make at a similar point, and no Confederations Cup to help.

          BB had both tournaments to help him weed out people so I see them scheduling a LOT more friendlies.

          Not to mention making sure on qualification, which should go all the way down to the wire.

    • Gnarls says:

      +1

      Magee is hungry and smart: two valuable attributes that can make up for a lack of athleticism and Robbie Keane-esque skill.

  7. AzTeXan says:

    So is Keane going to be ready for Wednesday?

  8. Dan says:

    Cudicini is pretty garbage.

    Was this Keane’s BFF over at Spurs?

    That being said, we’ve made terrible decisions over the past couple years at the GK spot.
    1. We let Ricketts go.
    2. We let Saunders go.
    3. Perk is our backup. He’s pretty awful too.

    • AzTeXan says:

      You’re stacked everywhere else, just sit back and enjoy the three peat.

    • ld says:

      Ricketts and Saunders are also crapola

      • Gnarls says:

        Yes.

        For all the talent on the Galaxy, how they don’t have a real talented keeper is a mind boggler.

    • Nick4235 says:

      Sorry but do you really think Saunders is any better?

      • beachbum says:

        he was 2 years ago, not last year, and I don’t know about this year

        Cudicini has been disappointing to say the least. The adjustment period is officially over. wednesday is freakin’ huge and he needs to show up ready to kick ass

  9. bottlcaps says:

    It looked like a lazy backpass or a miscommunication with another player. I think Leonardo, who has been out of the game for almost 1 1/2 years, due to a series of injuries could be cut a little slack. At one time he was Arena’s choice over Gonzo, believe it or not. I think buying out his contract from Sao Paulo by the Galaxy when he was injured was excellent foresight. El Trey (Gonzo) the way he has been playing, is set for the transfer window this summer., Rotating Meyer and Leonardo to giver them experience seems like the only way you are going to get a satisfactory transition.

    With Villarreal and McBean playing well, and Donovan back, the Galaxy may weather the coming storm with Monterrrey. If Keane can get back, they have more than a reasonable chance to advance to the CCL finals.

  10. AzTeXan says:

    Bump this post back up to the top so we can engage in some more LD ball washing.

  11. Vic says:

    Here’s my analysis of young forwards in the LA area:

    Villreal>Agudelo

  12. Weaksauce says:

    After Robbie Keane contract ends

    Villarreal —– Zardes

    — DP ————– Donovan

    —- DP ——— DP ——–

    Goodbye sarvas and juninho

    • dan says:

      Donovan is a DP…

      Sarvas + Juninho are class too, u don’t know much about the Galaxy do you? O_o

  13. Wild Draw Four says:

    Forget the U-20 WC or Gold Cup. Is it too early to start talking about a Villarreal to Villarreal move this summer? You heard it hear 1st.

  14. dan says:

    Both ties for the Galaxy were completely against the run of play and a result of defense gaffes. The defense needs to stay sharp for 90′ and the Galaxy would have a perfect record

    • ld says:

      too bad defending is a huge part of the game…otherwise your argument is solid

      • Brian says:

        The argument is solid. If the Galaxy had scored more goals than their opponents, they would have a perfect record.

  15. beachbum says:

    how about that kid baby!!!

  16. KK says:

    This was ESPN’s #1 play in their top 10 plays of the weekend.

    Granted, this was in ESPN Mexico

  17. John says:

    Villarreal, Gil, Mcbean, Yedlin, I’m starting to think to U20s could give the senior team a good game.

    • Old School says:

      Yea, no…

      • Brian says:

        Interestingly, two of those guys weren’t even on the U20 qualifying roster.

        Also, I wonder how a McBean will fit into the team going forward since they seem to prefer a Latin style.

  18. the unmistakeable Ronaldinho says:

    People are getting wayyyy ahead of themselves with Villarreal. We have done this a million times with young exciting prospects. Have we still not learned?…..He has played only a handful of professional games and people are talking about him for the national team? Let him continue to develop with the Galaxy and U-20s. There is no need to start with this again. Just let him play.

    • beachbum says:

      if he continues to improve and develop and deliver, why not a Gold Cup roster spot?

    • drew11 says:

      The reason people are talking about a call up is many other guys have gotten caps with similar resumes. It really wouldn’t be a big deal for him to get a full NT cap. So don’t worry about that happening or even people talking about it.

      • the unmistakeable Ronaldinho says:

        I understand the logic there. We have given caps to players with similar resumes. However, those were in different circumstances. Agudelo was in November after the world cup. That was the very beginning of the cycle. The Gold Cup will be only 1 year from the World Cup where we really have to be narrowing down the player pool. As everyone has said, it will likely be a mix of fringe vets (Beckerman type guys) and younger guys (Gatt, Mixx, Agudelo, Boyd). Villarreall isn’t in that group. Let him go to the U-20 World Cup and play in a great tournament for youth players. I think that would be better for him in the long run. I said this in another topic. He is a talented kid, but that is all he is now. Give him some time.

        • Brian says:

          Agreed. Give these guys a chance to shine with the U-20 WC team and then consider them. No reason to rush them unless they have Messi-like skills.