Red Bulls clinch playoff spot with shutout of Whitecaps

The Vancouver Whitecaps squandered an opportunity to get a first-round bye in the Major League Soccer playoffs.

Daniel Royer, Bradley Wright-Phillips and Felipe scored and the New York Red Bulls clinched the final Eastern Conference playoff spot with a 3-0 victory over Vancouver on Saturday night.

New York Red Bulls blank Vancouver, eliminate Montreal from playoff contention1:10

“We were slightly off it from the first whistle,” Whitecaps head coach Carl Robinson said. “We were a yard behind, we weren’t our usual self, we didn’t have energy. And credit to New York. They started very brightly, they took it like a playoff game.

“Overall, a bad night. But there were some positives out of it.”

Vancouver (15-11-6) remained in first place in the West after dropping only their second match in the last 10. The Whitecaps guaranteed themselves a home playoff game after Sporting Kansas City’s 1-1 tie with Minnesota clinched Vancouver at least fourth spot in the West.

Royer opened the scoring in the 33rd minute with a three-touch finish at the end of Sacha Kljestan and Tyler Adams’ two-pass combo. Wright-Phillips made it 2-0 with a chip finish in the 58th minute after Adams’ pass sprung him behind the defence for a breakaway run from near midfield.

Kljestan fed it out from the end line to Felipe, who capped the scoring with a rising blast into the right corner in the 72nd minute.

The Red Bulls (13-12-7) snapped an eight-game winless streak as they eliminated Montreal, New England, Philadelphia and Orlando from playoff contention.

The Whitecaps were without Stefan Marinovic, Kendall Waston, Yordy Reyna and Christian Bolanos, who were all on international duty. Midfielder Andrew Jacobson was also absent as he was awaiting the birth of his second child.

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CBC | Soccer News