There’s something about Champions League play which just brings out the best in Toronto FC. The Canadian club opened its participation in the 2012-13 installment of the CONCACAF Champions League on Wednesday night, handily defeating Club Deportiva Águila of El Salvador 5-1 in the first match of Group One play.
Following the match, Toronto FC sits atop Group One with three points while Águila resides at the bottom. Santos Laguna, runner up of the last CCL, has yet to play in the 2012-13 edition. The win was TFC’s tenth all-time victory in CCL play, as the club has posted a 10-7-7 mark in 24 matches.
The hosts got on the board within the first ten minutes, scoring on a corner in the ninth when Luis Silva was able to tuck a header into the far corner thanks to a Torsten Frings cross. It was a deserved tally, as the Reds were in the ascendancy throughout much of the early going. Ryan Johnson had a great chance to double the advantage in the 13th minute, but the midfielder blasted his volley attempt high over the crossbar.
Silva proved his worth once more in the 17th minute, setting up a lovely exchange with Reggie Lambe which led to the second goal of the evening. Receiving the ball at the edge of the penalty area, Silva played a low pass to Lambe who was able to neatly tuck it into the low far corner from 14 yards out.
A goalkeeping error by Milos Kocic allowed C.D. Águila to get back into the match in the 37th minute. Osael Romero lined up a free kick from distance and fired it towards the low near post, forcing Kocic into a diving save. The goalkeeper was able to make the initial stop but spilled the rebound right into the path of Yakiel Pérez Rousseaux, who slammed it emphatically into the middle of the net to slice the TFC advantage in half.
Continuing to run roughshod through the visiting defense, the Reds added another tally in the 40th minute when Terry Dunfield shinned (yes, shinned) one into the back of the net following a hopeful cross by Ashtone Morgan which saw the Águila defense freeze in place.
A second-half tally from Lambe in the 48th minute completed his brace and put the Reds in cruise control. Johnson got into the act ten minutes later, passing the ball into the back of the net after out-maneuvering goalkeeper Benji Villalobos inside the penalty area.
One-sided as it was, this victory does not buy TFC passage into the next stage of the tournament. The next important step in that process comes on August 28 when Santos Laguna visits BMO Field.
In other MLS news, Seattle Sounders FC opens its play in the CCL Thursday night, hosting Caledonia AIA (Trinidad and Tobago) at 10 pm EST. The match will be broadcast live on Fox Soccer Channel.
This is Brett Compton’s 249th post for WeFollowFutbol. Read more about him here.