October 15, 2015 / 4:07 AM / in 2 years

Toronto end long wait for MLS playoff spot

(Reuters) - Toronto FC clinched a spot in the Major League Soccer playoffs for the first time after goals from Herculez Gomez and Sebastian Giovinco helped them to a 2-1 win over New York Red Bulls on Wednesday.

Toronto FC midfielder Jackson (11) defends against New York Red Bulls midfielder Shaun Wright-Phillips (98) as Toronto FC goalkeeper Chris Konopka (1) looks on at BMO Field. Toronto defeated New York 2-1. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

Needing a point to guarantee their first playoff berth after coming into the league in 2007, Toronto built a 2-0 lead in the second half before Shaun Wright-Phillips pulled one back for the Red Bulls shortly before the final whistle.

The three points not only clinched a playoff berth for the Canadian club but lifted them into second spot in the Eastern Conference, five behind the Red Bulls with two regular-season games remaining.

If Toronto, who lead DC United by a point with New England and Columbus a point further back, can finish in the top two they would gain a bye into the conference semi-finals.

In the Western Conference, Portland Timbers scored a 1-0 away win over Real Salt Lake to move into the final playoff spot. Fanedo Ali scored from the penalty spot in the 54th minute after Lucas Melano was felled by Salt Lake’s Jamison Olave just inside the box.

Conference leaders FC Dallas blanked third-placed Vancouver Whitecaps 2-0, with Michael Barrios and Mauro Diaz getting the goals.

(This version of the story fixes the team name in the final paragraph.)

Reporting by Tim Wharnsby; Editing by Peter Rutherford

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