|Andrew Wiedeman of Toronto FC paces the ball on the attack past Juninho of the Los Angeles Galaxy on Saturday night at The Home Depot Center in Carson, California. (Victor Decolongon/Getty Images/AFP)
Toronto FC's 4-2 loss in L.A. Saturday night could have been much worse.
With No. 2 keeper Freddy Hall failing to properly set his wall nine minutes in, the Galaxy's Juninho curled a close-range restart inside the far post past the rooted Bermudian international to kick off a barrage of scoring efforts.
Controlling a staggering 65% of possession through the first half, the home side nearly doubled the advantage through Juninho in the 23rd minute, forcing an acrobatic tip from Hall that kept the game respectable for a at least few more moments.
Entering its 10th MLS match without a win, Toronto went two goals behind just after the half-hour mark when Juninho hit a second howitzer that rose into the top corner from 35 metres, leaving the Reds stunned and looking set to get run off the pitch.
A first half from hell went from bad to worse three minutes later when a quick combination from the Galaxy's Mike Magee and Robbie Keane turned Toronto's back four inside-out before the Irish international lifted a cheeky chip over Hall and into the open net to put L.A. up 3-0 before the end of the first half.
Capping off a spell of three goals in five minutes, Toronto received a breath of life in the 38th minute when Jeremy Hall's long throw was flicked on at the near post by Luis Silva. The Los Angeles native's flick landed perfectly to Terry Dunfield, who headed past the Galaxy's Josh Saunders from the top of the goal box to cut the lead to 3-1 heading into the break.
The Galaxy continued its onslaught minutes into the second half, looking to beat Hall from distance for a second time in the 52nd minute. Sean Franklin's attempt from the right edge of the area forced Hall into more acrobatics as he stretched to tip Franklin's attempt wide.
A dead ball in the 55th minute should have provided the Galaxy its fourth after Omar Gonzalez played a restart back across goal to an open Mcgee, who should have turned Saturday night's match into an absolute laugher from metres out.
The Reds forced Saunders into his first save an hour in when Silva collected at the edge of Galaxy's area and advanced towards goal. Dancing around an L.A. back, TFC's rookie opened his hips and attempted to bend an effort that Saunders easily collected.
Landon Donovan squandered his best chance of the match in the 68th minute, skying an effort over the frame following Keane's trailing pass to the top of the area.
The defending MLS Cup champions continued to pour on the pressure four minutes later, attacking at will and looking certain to put a fourth past Hall. In the 72nd minute second-half substitute Edson Buddle put his header from a corner just wide of the back post.
With a quarter-hour remaining, Buddle had another go following a clever one-two with Keane at the top of the area. Doing well to stone Buddle from a tight angle, Hall's juicy rebound was put inches wide by Franklin.
In a match they had no business taking anything from, Toronto managed to cut the lead to one with minutes remaining. Silva's deflected effort from close range trickled over a stranded Saunders to give the the Galacticos a nervy final few minutes.
But Keane silenced any chance of more late TFC heroics when he burried on the half-volley two minutes into stoppage time before a 4-2 finish out west.
The Reds travel to El Salvador for their third of four CONCACAF Champions League group stage games Tuesday night. After falling 3-1 to Santos Laguna at home in August, should the Reds win Tuesday's match against Aguila, they'll need to score at least three goals in Torreon against Santos in October to advance.