Toronto ties Red Bulls, grabs playoff berth

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[September 19, 2016]  The Sports Xchange

Eastern Conference-leading Toronto FC became the first team to clinch a spot in this year's Major League Soccer playoffs, rallying for a 3-3 draw with the New York Red Bulls on Sunday at BMO Field in Toronto.

New York extended its MLS unbeaten streak to 12 matches despite blowing a 3-1 lead.

Former Red Bulls forward Jozy Altidore scored two goals for Toronto, including the equalizer in the 86th minute off an assist from his U.S. international teammate, Michael Bradley.

In the 68th minute, Altidore pulled New York within 3-2 when he bent a 30-yard free kick over the Toronto wall and side netting to his left. Toronto goalie Alex Bono had no chance on the play.

By picking up one point, Toronto (13-8-8) maintained its lead in the Eastern Conference with 47 points, two points ahead of the Red Bulls (12-9-9) and New York City FC (12-9-9).

The Red Bulls haven't lost an MLS game since a 2-0 decision to New York City on July 3. They are 5-0-7 since then.

Red Bulls striker Bradley Wright-Phillips scored two goals, giving him a league-leading 20. He scored in the 31st and 48th minutes.

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Midfielder Sacha Kljestan recorded his MLS-leading 16th assist on Wright-Phillips' second goal that gave the Red Bulls a 3-1 edge.

Bradley, also a former Red Bull, scored for Toronto in the 41st minute.

Toronto FC was without leading scorer Sebastian Giovinco, who has missed almost a month with quadriceps and adductor strains sustained in an August 27 match against the Montreal Impact.

The Red Bulls took a 1-0 lead in the 11th minute when Toronto FC defender Steven Beitashour inadvertently put the ball in his own net by sliding to break up a Red Bulls cross.

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