Perhaps it was the fact that LAFC has already clinched a spot in the post season, or perhaps it was upon hearing the news that fan-favorite Adama Diomande admitted himself to MLS’ substance abuse clinic, leaving an indefinite timetable for his return, or perhaps it just simply wasn’t their night.
With Adama Diomande out for the forseeable future, Brian Rodriguez got the nod. It was one of the first times LAFC had all three of their designated players on the pitch.
Whatever the case, the Black and Gold put together one of the worst collective performances of their season thus far. In fact, LAFC were lucky to end the night in a draw, as Toronto dominated much of the gameplay throughout the match.
Toronto was the first to score, in the 18th minute Mark-Anthony Kaye took one too many touches on the ball in LAFC’s penalty box and had the ball stripped by Toronto where it found the feet of long-time USA international Jozy Altidore, who made a quick pass out wide to Tsubasa Endoh with Endoh finishing past Tyler Miller in the low far corner to put Toronto in the lead 1-0.
Brian Rodriguez nearly equalized with a bullet from 35 yards out in the 32nd minute but was eventually parried away out of danger by Toronto’s keeper.
LAFC did however start to knock on Toronto’s door as the second half progressed, with many chances created usually though Carlos Vela, only to be narrowly thwarted at the goal line.
The attempts finally paid off in stoppage time, when an aerial ball from Eduard Atuesta found Latif Blessing running into the box. Blessing masterfully brought the ball down with his chest and was about to release the ball when he was kicked in the chest by a flailing Toronto defender’s leg.
After some deliberation (and stadium input), the referee finally pointed to the spot and awarded LAFC the penalty, and there was no doubt as to who would take it.
Carlos Vela slotted it away to tie the game in the dying moments and salvage a point from nothing.