The 47,658 fans who packed Rogers Centre for Wednesday's CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal first leg sure got money's worth. For 90 minutes they watched Toronto FC and the LA Galaxy play a high-paced match that had plenty of chances for both sides, some bad blood develop and in the end, all that was missing was a winner, not that the Galaxy will complain. An 88th minute goal by Landon Donovan leveled things up for the visitors and sent the match to a 2-2 draw, a result that LA is sure to be happy with as they head home for the second leg level and with two away goals in hand.
Toronto opened up the scoring after just 11 minutes when they flashed the pace that makes them such a threat on the counter-attack. A long ball into the path of Joao Plata opened up the Galaxy defense and forced them to retreat. Eventually, the ball went off of Plata and over the endline, but the referee gave a corner kick anyways and Toronto took advantage. LA couldn't clear Torsten Frings' corner and the ball fell to Ryan Johnson, who hit a good left-footed volley to put Toronto in front.
Five minutes later, that Toronto lead doubled, this time through Luis Silva. Once again, the Reds struck on the break as they found Danny Koevermans in the right. LA was retreating and struggling to mark the Toronto players rushing up field so Silva got free at the penalty spot. Koevermans hit him with a perfect cross and Silva's header was perfect, sending the home fans into raptures.
Just before the half-hour mark, LA was able to cut into the Toronto lead. Donovan and Sean Franklin combined down the right and got Franklin space to cross. His ball went all the way to the back post, but not before Stefan Frei tried to come out and collect it, only to fail. When the ball got to Mike Magee, Frei was well out of position and Magee had a nearly open goal to finish in.
The rest of the first half and then the entire second half was full of chances. The Galaxy were on the ball for most of the time and created chances, with Robbie Keane wasting several opportunities and Donovan just missing on another.
Even if they didn't have the ball, Toronto was right in the match and very dangerous on the counter-attack. They almost scored themselves a few times and on one occasion it looked like Silva would be able to make it a brace, but David Beckham intervened at the last second.
Throughout the match, Beckham was pelted with streamers whenever he went to take a corner kick. In the 88th minute, he also had a beer can thrown at him and was clearly upset, but he would get the last laugh just a few seconds later. When Beckham finally did take the corner kick, it came down in the six-yard box where it was scrambled about before making its way to Donovan, who poked it into the net for the all-important equalizer. The Galaxy celebrated and several were sure to incite the fans in the corner where the beer can had come from.
The final whistle went and Toronto left dejected, knowing that, in all likelihood, they would need to win in Los Angeles next week to advance. Meanwhile, LA were still on a high from their late equalizer and more than happy with their draw, knowing that not only had they gotten a result, but two vital away goals to boot.
For more on Toronto FC and their Champions League run, check out Waking The Red.