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Toronto cruises past shorthanded Galaxy

May 31, 2008 - 11:13 PM TORONTO (Ticker) -- Toronto FC continued its dominating play at home Saturday.

Rookie Julius James scored his first career goal early in the second half and Jeff Cunningham added a second 16 minutes later as Toronto blanked Los Angeles, 2-0, at BMO Field.

Making his MLS debut, James scored on a header to break the scoreless tie in the 49th minute for Toronto, which improved to 4-0-2 at home this season.

It was the third straight home shutout for Toronto, which extended its scoreless streak at BMO Field to 320 minutes. Toronto has allowed just one goal through its six home games.

"You saw our defense today, they intimidate the forwards and they (force) mistakes," Toronto coach John Carver said. "It speaks for itself."

Toronto controlled the pace throughout and outshot Los Angeles, 12-4, completing a two-game season sweep of the Galaxy.

Holding Los Angeles scoreless was a little easier as the Galaxy failed to create opportunities without leading goal-scorer Landon Donovan and midfielder David Beckham due to international team duties.

Donovan had returned to the club after playing for the United States on Wednesday but did not see the field, while Beckham remained in England for a friendly against Trinidad and Tobago on Sunday. The two have combined for 13 of Los Angeles' 21 goals this season.

The setback snapped a brief two-game winning streak where Los Angeles had outscored the opposition, 8-2.

"We just don't talk about the absences," Galaxy coach Ruud Gullit said. "It happens and you just don't talk about it. You have to deal with it and hope your team wins. There is no blame for losing when guys aren't there."

After neither team could manage any real scoring chances during the game's first 45 minutes, Toronto came out in the second half and immediately seized control.

Awarded a free kick along the left sideline, Toronto midfielder Rohan Ricketts served a perfect ball into the middle of the box, where James rose up and headed a shot past Los Angeles goalkeeper Steve Cronin into the lower right corner of the net for a 1-0 lead.

The University of Connecticut graduate, James took advantage of his opportunity to play, due to Toronto also losing players with international competition.

"I knew when coming on I just had to work hard and prove myself," James said. "Our team is so great, even the bench, that you always have to be working hard on and off the field. So I have to work hard and build my confidence.

Cunningham doubled the advantage for Toronto with his second goal of the season in the 65th minute, breaking in alone from 18 yards out and sliding the ball into the lower right corner.

Toronto narrowly missed a third goal when Jarrod Smith's shot sailed just wide of the net after walking in alone from 25 yards out.

The home team's dominating half resulted in a 9-2 advantage in shots during the game's final 45 minutes, while goalkeeper Brian Edwards was rarely tested. Edwards made one save to record his first career shutout.

"I hoped that the team would play well and they did," Carver said. "I was a little worried but they pulled it off. I've been talking about having a bench where guys work for their position and it showed today."

With a light rain soaking the field late in the first half, the Galaxy coach thought that his team did a poor job of adjusting to the conditions in the second half, while Toronto excelled.

"The game got really hard for us to play on this turf with all they rain and I think it showed," Gullit said. "Toronto is used to it and with us it was hard to adjust to the circumstances. It gets really frustrating when a ball lands half a step in front of you and then its gone."

The Galaxy were whistled for seven offsides and received their only corner kick in the 86th minute.

  • MLS

    May 31 5:31 PM

    TORONTO FC GOAL: Jeff Cunningham in the 64th minute

    Galaxy 0, Toronto FC 2  2nd - 64'May 31 5:02 PM

    TORONTO FC GOAL: Julius James in the 49th minute

    Galaxy 0, Toronto FC 1  2nd - 49'May 31 4:46 PM

  • MLS

    May 31 4:26 PM
  • 5
    senorpepr Added 5 roots

    Galaxy vs. Toronto FCMay 31 7:53 AM