MLS Cup champs Toronto out of playoff contention with loss

Vancouver Whitecaps beat Toronto FC 2-1. (AFP pic)

LOS ANGELES: Reigning Major League Soccer Cup champions Toronto FC were eliminated from playoff contention on Saturday with a 2-1 loss to Vancouver Whitecaps, who kept their own post-season hopes alive.

Russell Teibert and Kei Kamara scored for Vancouver. Teibert put Whitecaps up in the fourth minute and Kamara grabbed the game-winner in the 78th.

Toronto had been reduced to 10 men when Gregory van der Wiel was sent off for his second yellow card before Jozy Altidore gave them a ray of hope, converting a penalty in the 73rd after a sliding Doneil Henry handled a cross from Jay Chapman.

But Kamara answered, seizing a cross from Jordon Mutch and slotting in his 14th goal of the season.

Toronto’s failure to make the playoffs follows a spectacular 2017 campaign, when their 69 points were a league record as they claimed the Supporters’ Shield as the team topping the MLS regular-season standings, as well as the MLS Cup playoff crown.

In other matches, Philadelphia Union clinched a playoff berth with a 5-1 home victory over Minnesota. Fafa Picault scored twice in the first half to give the Union a 4-0 half-time edge and while Darwin Quintero pulled one back in the 54th minute for the Loons, Ilsinho added a final tally for Union in the 79th minute.

Montreal Impact blanked visiting Columbus 3-0, moving five points ahead of DC United for the final Eastern Conference playoff berth but with the US capital club holding three matches in hand.