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Toronto FC moves above playoff line with 3-1 win over New York Red Bulls

Jozy Altidore, Alejandro Pozuelo and Ashtone Morgan scored for the Reds.

Three different players scored for Toronto FC, which moved above the playoff line in the Eastern Conference with a 3-1 win over the New York Red Bulls Wednesday night at BMO Field.

With their second straight win and points in four of their last five, Toronto (8-8-5, 29 points) leapfrogged the New England Revolution into seventh place in the East. The Red Bulls (9-8-4, 31 points), who fielded a rotated squad in a double-match week, couldn’t build momentum off an emotional Hudson River Derby win for their second loss in the last five games.

Jozy Altidore opened the scoring against his former club with a sensational back-heel flick of a Tsubasa Endoh cross in the sixth minute. It was the fourth consecutive game New York conceded first.

Three minutes later, Vincent Bezecourt nearly leveled, connecting on a Marc Rzatkowski corner kick and putting a first-time volley on target, but Quentin Westberg parried away, one of his six saves on the game.

The Reds doubled their lead on a 26th-minute penalty kick by Alejandro Pozuelo after Kemar Lawrence took down Richie Laryea with a sliding tackle by the end line. Pozuelo put his attempt to the left of a rooted Luis Robles for his ninth goal of the season.

The Spanish play-maker, though, left with an ankle injury in the second half and hobbled down the tunnel after the final whistle.

In the 32nd minute, Westberg was tested again after Kaku stripped Michael Bradley, who tried to cut the ball back to his left foot inside the TFC 18-yard box on a pass out by the goalkeeper. But Westberg bailed his captain out with a save of Kaku’s shot from 12 yards out.

Jul 17, 2019; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; New York Red Bulls forward Tom Barlow (74) battles for the ball with Toronto FC midfielder Marco Delgado (8) and defender Laurent Ciman (26) during the first half at BMO Field. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

Derrick Etienne Jr. came off the substitute’s bench and helped cut the Red Bulls’ deficit to 2-1 when he ran at the Toronto defense and slipped a pass to Tom Barlow, who tapped in his second goal in the 63rd minute.

New York pressed for an equalizer, but a defensive blunder by Michael Amir Murillo ended any hopes of a comeback nine minutes later. Trying to shield the ball over the end line, while Luis Robles raced toward the ball, the right back was stripped by Ashtone Morgan, who spun and fired into the open net.

Toronto remains home Saturday to meet a Houston Dynamo side coming off a 5-0 loss to Atlanta United, while the Red Bulls look to rebound when they meet Orlando City SC Sunday at Exploria Stadium.

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