Six months ago, Toronto FC eliminated the LA Galaxy from the CONCACAF Champions League, but a lot has happened since then. For example, we learned that LA is a very good team and Toronto are awful. We saw that on Saturday night as the two teams squared off again and this time the Galaxy prevailed 4-2 to clinch a playoff spot, while the Reds remain at the bottom of the MLS table.
Juninho continued his fine run of play in the 11th minute with the opening goal. After a foul just outside the box, Juninho curled the ball around the wall while a bewildered Freddy Hall watched as the ball found the net for the opening tally.
The Brazilian wasn't done, though. In the 33rd minute he hit an absolute rocket from 30 yards that left Hall no chance. The ball found the upper corner for an amazing goal that put LA two goals up.
Robbie Keane got in on the action three minutes later thanks to some fine play by Landon Donovan and Mike Magee. Donovan got down the left before cutting back for Magee, who took a gorgeous first touch the left the TFC defense in his wake. That forced the Reds to scramble and Keane wide open so Magee fed Keane and the Irishman gave LA a three-goal lead.
LA's big lead was completely deserved, too. They completely outclassed Toronto, who didn't even look like professionals, let alone capable of playing with a team in the form that LA is in right now. The Galaxy had all of the possession and chances, while the Reds just hacked away aimlessly and without success.
But once down three goals, TFC somehow found a way back in the match. Terry Dunfield scored from close range when Marcelo Sarvas decided that marking was optional and left him wide open in front of goal and in the 86th minute, Luis Silva scored as well.
Somehow, despite TFC looking truly dreadful and the Galaxy completely controlling the match, the Reds were only a goal down. But any hope that the visitors may have had vanished in stoppage time when Keane whiffed on a perfect pass from Donovan, but got it back and beat a defender before finishing well to ice the match.
The win didn't just clinch a playoff spot for the Galaxy, it put them into second place in the Western Conference. They are tied with Salt Lake on 49 points, but have a superior goal difference in the battle for second, while Seattle sits one point back.
Toronto is on just 22 points this season, five points back of anyone else. They looked even worse than that for most of Saturday night.