(Reuters) - The New York Red Bulls extended their lead at the top of the Major League Soccer Eastern Conference standings with a 2-1 away win over a 10-man Montreal Impact on Wednesday.
In a game that featured three penalties, two of which were converted, New York midfielder Lloyd Sam scored the only goal in open play as the Red Bulls pulled six points clear of second-placed D.C. United with three regular season games remaining.
Montreal played most of the match with 10 men after defender Ambroise Oyongo was sent off in the 15th minute for a deliberate handball on the goal-line.
His sacrifice was in vain, as Sacha Kljestan converted the subsequent penalty for the Red Bulls. Ten minutes later, the Red Bulls were awarded a second penalty but Impact goalkeeper Evan Bush saved Kljestan’s shot.
Sam doubled New York’s lead on the stroke of halftime before former Chelsea striker Didier Drogba pulled one back for Montreal in the 68th minute, also from the spot.
The defeat, the second in a row for Montreal, cost the Impact a chance to consolidate a playoff spot. They remain sixth in the East, one point ahead of Orlando City in the race for the final berth in the post season.
In the other Wednesday game, the Vancouver Whitecaps and FC Dallas played out a scoreless draw, a result that better suited visiting Dallas.
They edged to the top of the West, equal on points with the Los Angeles Galaxy, and one clear of Vancouver.
The top two teams at the end of the regular season get a first-round bye in the post season.
Reporting by Andrew Both in Cary, North Carolina; Editing by Julian linden