TFC secure playoff spot despite LAFC’s late leveler

Latif Blessing took a late foul in the penalty area and Carlos Vela connected from the penalty spot five minutes into extra time as Los Angeles FC pulled out a 1-1 tie Saturday against visiting Toronto FC.

Tsubasa Endoh scored a first-half goal as Toronto FC still managed to extend its unbeaten streak to eight games but missed out on the full three points with the tie.

Blessing was on the ball in the penalty area when he took a swinging left leg to the chest from Toronto FC’s Chris Mavinga. Even after salvaging a point, LAFC’s winless streak still reached a season-high five games. Vela scored his MLS-leading 29th goal of the season.

Toronto FC (12-10-10, 46 points) maintained its spot in fourth place in the Eastern Conference despite the dropped points. And following the Montreal Impact’s loss to the LA Galaxy, the Reds officially clinched a playoff spot, with two games remaining. 

WATCH | TFC book playoff berth:

Toronto FC booked their ticket to the MLS playoffs thanks to their 1-1 draw with LAFC 0:47

LAFC (19-4-8, 65 points), the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference in the upcoming playoffs, has not won a game since defeating the San Jose Earthquakes 4-0 on Aug. 21. The winless streak started with a 3-3 tie against the rival Los Angeles Galaxy on Aug. 25.

Toronto FC midfielder Michael Bradley was unable to get a victory over his father Bob Bradley, the LAFC head coach. LAFC earned a 4-2 victory at Toronto last season.

LAFC could have clinched the Supporters’ Shield title with a victory and a New York City FC tie or loss Sunday, but will look to make ground in that area when it faces the Houston Dynamo on Wednesday. LAFC has three regular-season games remaining.

Toronto FC’s early attack paid off in the 19th minute when Jozy Altidore sent Endoh a pass to the left side of goal. Endoh made one touch with his right foot before firing a left-footed shot to the right side of goal and past LAFC goalkeeper Tyler Miller. It was Endoh’s third goal of the season, with Altidore getting his seventh assist.

LAFC led 17-8 in shots and 5-1 in shots on goal, but had to settle for the tie. They still have not lost to an Eastern Conference team going 7-0-5 this season.

LAFC played without forward Adama Diomande, who voluntarily entered the MLS Substance Abuse and Behavioral Health Program.

Impact’s playoff hopes fade

Uriel Antuna gave Los Angeles the lead in the 50th minute, Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored his 27th goal of the season and the Galaxy earned a 2-1 win over the Montreal Impact.

Ibrahimovic gave Los Angeles (15-13-3) a 1-0 advantage in the 31st minute with a shot 9 yards out from the centre of the box, assisted by Antuna. Lassi Lappalainen tied it for Montreal (11-17-4) at 1-1 in the 48th minute on a header 10 yards out from the centre of the box, assisted by Saphir Taider.

WATCH | Impact’s playoff hopes dwindle with loss to Galaxy:

The Montreal Impact`s hope to reach the playofs dwindled on Friday night after they fell 2-1 to L.A. Galaxy. 1:23

Antuna sealed the victory for Los Angeles in the 50th minute with a shot 11 yards out from the centre of the box, assisted by Ibrahimovic.

The Galaxy outshot the Impact 25 to 14, with 12 shots on goal to 3 for Montreal.

Los Angeles drew seven corner kicks, committed seven fouls and was given one yellow card. Montreal drew five corner kicks, committed one foul and was not carded.

Whitecaps salvage point against Crew

Fredy Montero did it again.

Montero scored on a header in the 94th minute as the Vancouver Whitecaps tied the Columbus Crew 1-1 on Saturday in Major League Soccer.

The Whitecaps had given up an early goal and looked on the ropes until Montero’s heroics. Left back Ali Adnan sent a cross into the box that a leaping Montero was able to direct into the net in the fourth minute of extra time.

Last Saturday, Montero scored in the 90th minute for a 2-1 win over the Houston Dynamo. 

Gyasi Zardes scored on a penalty kick in the 18th minute for Columbus (9-15-8), who have never won a game at BC Place Stadium.

The crew went ahead 1-0 after a defensive lapse gave Whitecap’s goalkeeper Zac MacMath little option but to trip up wide-open Columbus forward Pedro Santos in the penalty area. Zardes calmly stroked home his 13th goal of the year while MacMath was shown a yellow card.

Columbus have one loss in their last 11 games 4-1-6. The Crew entered the match six points behind the New England Revolution in the battle for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

WATCH | Fredy Montero’s late heroics for Caps:

Vancouver and Columbus play to 1-1 draw, Fredy Montero scores in stoppage time. 1:31

The Whitecaps (7-15-10) who are 2-3-1 in their last six games and remain last in the Western Conference.

Vancouver had a chance to tie the match in the 56th minute. Forward Theo Blair took a shot from outside the box that clipped the foot of a Columbus defender then hit the post before goalkeeper Eloy Room was able to fall on the ball. Many in the crowd of 16,683 at BC Place Stadium were left wondering how the ball stayed out of the net.

The Whitecaps’ best first-half scoring chance came in the ninth minute. Midfielder Russell Teibert weaved between several Columbus defenders then fired a left-footed shot that Room stopped with a two-hand block.

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