Playing without midfield catalyst Guillermo Barros Schelotto and first-choice defenders Chad Marshall and Frankie Hejduk, the Columbus Crew scored two second-half goals to tie Toluca in the opening game of their home-and-home CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal last night.
Toluca, which has played nine games of its 2010 Primera Division season, took the lead in the 19th minute on a goal by Antonio Naelson Sinha, and doubled it just before halftime after a rocket from Antonio Rios.
The Crew had generated chances in the first half, though, and they continued to push forward in the second, breaking through with goals from Steven Lenhart in the 66th and 84th minutes to pull level.
Toluca hosts the return leg next Wednesday. The Crew can advance to the semis with a win or a draw in which it scores at least three goals (away goals being the tiebreaker).
A victory would make Columbus the first MLS team ever to win a game in Mexico.
In other MLS news…
• Veteran goalkeeper Kevin Hartman—who was briefly stranded after failing to come terms on a new contract with Kansas City, which held his rights—was traded to FC Dallas on Monday. Hartman joins 35-year-old Argentine Dario Sala in the Dallas goalkeeping ranks.
• The Colorado Rapids are set to travel to London for a training spell with Premier League juggernaut Arsenal, and the San Jose Earthquakes, who are already in London for preseason training, edged Tottenham Hotspur’s developmental team today, 1-0, on a goal by Bobby Burling.