Toronto seals playoff berth with win over New York
TORONTO (AP) — Toronto sealed its first playoff berth in Major League Soccer and kept alive its hopes of overtaking New York for top spot in the Eastern Conference by beating the Red Bulls 2-1 on Wednesday, with Italy international Sebastian Giovinco scoring his 22nd goal of the season.
The Canadian club moved within five points of New York with two games to play in the regular season.
Dallas moved closer to sealing top spot in the Western Conference by beating third-placed Vancouver 2-0. The Texan team is now four points clear of the Whitecaps, and three above second-placed Los Angeles.
In the day’s other game, Portland picked up a valuable 1-0 win at Real Salt Lake to move into sixth — the last playoff-yielding spot — in the West.
Toronto’s Giovinco sent a charge through the crowd of 18,143 when he stepped past a slew of Red Bulls defenders before firing a shot into the right side of the net in the 78th minute. The star striker flew back to Canada hours after playing a Euro 2016 qualifier for Italy.
Hercules Gomez had scored in the 51st minute for Toronto, which has won four straight games.
Shaun Wright-Phillips pulled a goal back for New York in the 86th minute.
Dallas’ Mauro Diaz scored one goal and set up another in the 2-0 home win against Vancouver.
Michael Barrios opened the scoring in the 32nd minute. He drew a penalty 10 minutes later, but Diaz’s spot-kick was denied by David Ousted.
Diaz made it 2-0 in the 52nd after a nice individual effort. Ousted got a hand on the shot but it found the back of the net.
Vancouver is winless in five games and is now at long odds of finishing in the top two in the West, and thereby getting a bye in the first round of playoffs.
Portland’s Fanendo Adi converted a penalty in the 54th minute and that was enough for the Timbers to win 1-0 at ten-man Real Salt Lake.
Jamison Olave was given a straight red card in the 52nd minute for taking down Lucas Melano in a goal-scoring position. Goalkeeper Nick Rimando picked the wrong direction on Adi’s penalty kick.