TORONTO - Landon Donovan converted from a goalmouth scramble in the 88th minute and gave the LA Galaxy a 2-2 draw with Toronto FC Wednesday night in the first leg of the CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal, disappointing the second-largest crowd in tournament history.
The poke from the middle of the area after David Beckham's corner kick pinged around the penalty area with touches by Edson Buddle and Robbie Keane sent the two teams back to Los Angeles next Wednesday for the deciding leg.
"That's football, it's a pity," Toronto coach Aron Winter said. "If you watch the whole game we start well, we tried to play football and in the end we were unlucky.
"I think overall the players have done it well and they scored two goals. Next week we got another game and you know that you have to win to qualify for the next round."
It was the fifth consecutive draw between the Galaxy and Toronto, and the sixth in 11 career meetings between the fellow Major League Soccer sides.
With a raucous capacity crowd of 47,658 at the Rogers Centre - the regular home of Major League Baseball's Toronto Blue Jays, the "Reds" were on the defensive early when Keane sent a low shot from the 18 that keeper Stefan Frei had to dive low to his left to push wide.
"Nothing but love for the crowd obviously," Frei said. "It's great to see all the support we're getting. We always knew we had the best fans in the league. It's great to see a packed house and we want to pay them back with a good season and obviously and it continues with the next game in LA."
Frings was instrumental on the second goal five minutes later, sending a long ball from midfield near the right touchline that found an unmarked Silva, who from 12 meters floated a header back across goal over a scrambling and retreating Saunders.
"We just dug a hole for ourselves," Los Angeles coach Bruz Arena said. "I didn't think we started the game poorly but we just made a couple of sloppy plays. But give Toronto credit - it's one team making mistakes and one team capitalizing.
"They certainly deserve credit. We didn't do well in the first 20 minutes of the game we dug ourselves a hole and then give our team credit, but we certainly could have played better and probably got an even more favorable result. But we'll have an opportunity to play again next week and do better."
The Galaxy continued to press forward and after David Beckham's 30-meter free kick was saved by Frei in the 22nd minute, Los Angeles pulled within a goal six minutes later. Beckham fed Landon Donovan, who laid the ball off to Sean Franklin on an overlapping run into the right corner.
Franklin whipped a cross to the back post that Frei managed to get his finger tips to, but it fell to Magee, who volleyed it low back across into the far side of the net.
The Galaxy had several near misses before Donovan's goal. Frings had to intercept a dangerous cross into the goal box with a sliding tackle n the 37th, a Beckham free kick dropped in the middle of the Toronto area before it was cleared in the 47th, Magee put an unchallenged header high in the 52nd and Keane sent a cross through the goal box from the left side in the 61st.
Both teams have yet to begin their MLS season, with the Galaxy to open at home Saturday against Real Salt Lake, while Toronto won't play its first league match until March 17 against Seattle.
The crowd under the roof of the Rogers Center was short of the all-time record of 55,571 at Olympic Statium in Montreal that witness the quarterfinal between the Impact and Santos Laguna on February 25, 2009, but easily eclipsed the previous second-largest crowd of 32,177 that attended the 2010 quarterfinal between Pumas and Cruz Azul in Mexico City.
"It was great. I'm glad the game was staged here. Obviously I knew it was a bigger stadium and I knew these fans would fill it out," said Beckham, who was deluged several times with streamers when he attempted corner kicks.
"I think the streamers were a terrible idea during the game. Before the game, a great idea. Little bit difficult taking corners like that. Overall I think everyone had fun. Obviously the fans saw their team score two goals, I'm sure they didn't like seeing us score two goals. Overall it was a great atmosphere to play in."