TORONTO (AP) — Teenage substitute Jose Villarreal scored on a bicycle kick in the 92nd minute to give defending MLS champion Los Angeles a 2-2 tie with Toronto FC on Saturday in Galaxy star Landon Donovan’s return.
Coming off a sabbatical of nearly four months, Donovan returned to action as a substitute in the 61st minute. He had a good scoring chance a minute later when Magee found him behind the defense, but scuffed the shot and goalkeeper Joe Bendik gathered it in.
“Fitness-wise I felt great,” said the 31-year-old Donovan, the Galaxy’s career goals leader with 92. “Obviously I have a ways to go soccer-wise, but you’ve got to get minutes to get better. It was good to get some time today and obviously in the end it worked out with a good result.”
Toronto substitute Jonathan Osorio gave the Reds (1-2-1) a 2-1 lead in the 78th minute with his first MLS goal, but the 19-year-old Villarreal tied it for the Galaxy (2-0-2) with his acrobatic goal.
Mike Magee scored his fifth goal of the season in the 16th minute to open the scoring for Los Angeles, and Robert Earnshaw pounced on a defensive miscue to tie it 13 minutes later.
“It would have been a crime to leave here without a point,” Galaxy coach Bruce Arena. “We played pretty well today. It was remarkable to me that we were actually in a position to be chasing that game. Give Toronto credit. I don’t want to take anything away from them but I think we played well enough today to position ourselves to have three points. We got the point and now we’ve just got to get the hell out of town, not even look back and don’t complain.”
Toronto coach Ryan Nelson tried to be realistic.
“Late goals happen,” Nelson said. “They throw numbers in the box and balls go (in). It’s not an indictment of this team. Nobody’s blaming anybody, definitely not me. When you play against really good teams, this is going to happen.”