This was the match up that MLSE must have been dreaming of. Not only do they get the biggest game in Toronto FC history, they get it against the easiest of the potential teams to sell. Today we found out that Toronto FC will be taking on the Los Angles Galaxy in the quarter finals of the CCL. That sets up a matchup with the team that could be the defending MLS champions, could have the trio of David Beckham, Robbie Keane, and Landon Donovan, and could just be the hottest ticket in Toronto sports. The prices, location, and marketing will still all be important but with the other options being clubs from Mexico that the casual fan has no knowledge of, well this was the dream game to be able to sell a whole lot of tickets.
The date and location of the game are yet to be announced but what we do know is that Toronto will host the first leg at home come the beginning of March. The second leg will be hosted by the Galaxy a week later. As part of this Aron Winter commented to some members of the media today that the team will regroup come the third week of January which gives them a solid 6 plus weeks to get ready for this game so there really will be no excuses for a slow start this time around.
Not only is this game the easiest one for the club to sell to the casual fans it is probably also the easiest opponent for TFC to go out and get a win against. It will of course still be difficult as the Galaxy are one of the strongest teams in MLS but who knows what their roster will look like come the start of March with the potential departure of Ricketts, Beckham and possibly a few others. It is a safe bet though that the free spending Galaxy will still have a strong team. The good part of playing them is that Toronto know the Galaxy far better then they would have known either of the potential Mexican opponents. In fact going by this season's MLS results, and using the away goals rule, Toronto won the season series against LA. The Reds picked up a 0-0 draw at home and then went to LA and stole a 2-2 draw thanks to a stunning goal from Alan Gordon in the 94th minute. Both of those results came with the terrible first half of the season squad so I think it is safe to say that if Toronto continues to improve there is no reason that they can not win this quarter final matchup.
If Toronto does manage to win in the quarters over the Galaxy then that would set up a semifinal date against the winner of the Seattle Sounders-Santos Laguna tie. That would again set up to be a fairly decent matchup from a promotion and a playing stand point. In my eyes the draw today has kept Toronto away from the really scary sides until at least the final. It will be possible for them to make it there but lets not go counting any chickens before they are even in the eggs let alone hatched.
We already went over the basics of the stadium choice but since that discussion I have gotten the sense that the game is going to be headed to Rogers Center and the date with the Galaxy may have just sealed that. It is a game where the club could sell the 40,000 tickets I feel are needed to make the Dome a good choice, and the Dome really comes with a lot less headaches at the start of March. I have no inside information on this at all but I would be stunned if this game ends up being played at BMO. As for ticket sales we will have to wait at least a few more weeks for the rest of those details to trickle out to us.
So now a few links to more info on the game:
Richard Whittall over at the Score's Footy Blog shares his thoughts on the draw and on draws in general.
Canadian Soccer news has the bare bones up about it now but I am sure they will have more in the coming days and on the next Its Called Football pod.
And the last link I can be bothered to dig up and share comes from a friend of ours in the Yorkies who give their take on the draw.
So there you have it, come the 6th, 7th, or 8th of March Toronto FC will be playing at either BMO Field or the Rogers Centre but the one thing we do now know for sure is that it will be against the Los Angles Galaxy. Bring it on!