Red Bulls and Whitecaps win MLS playoffs

Oct 26, 2017 - 6:08 AM The New York Red Bulls and Vancouver Whitecaps have posted emphatic victories in the Major League Soccer (MLS) playoffs.

Two early goals on Wednesday paved the way for the Red Bulls' 4-0 victory over Chicago to eliminate the Fire.

Chicago were hosting the knockout match but their home ground provided little advantage as Bradley Wright-Phillips and Sacha Kljestan put the visitors 2-0 up inside 11 minutes in Bridgeview, Illinois.

The Fire, making their first playoff appearance in five years, offered little in the first half and, while they were more threatening after the break, they could not make it count.

Chicago midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger, who had played only 19 minutes over seven previous games due to leg injuries, came on in the 65th minute. He had barely touched the ball before Daniel Royer scored a third for the Red Bulls.

Gonzalo Veron added a fourth late on.

"I can't really compliment the boys enough," English striker Wright-Phillips said in a pitch-side interview. "It was a real professional performance."

The win puts the Red Bulls into a two-leg eastern conference semi-final against a rampant Toronto FC. The Canadian outfit had a first-round bye after setting a record for the most points in a MLS regular season - 69 in 34 games.

The Red Bulls had finished the season sixth in the conference, 19 points behind Toronto, while Chicago were third on 55 points.

"We know Toronto are going to pose a huge challenge. I think they're probably the best team in MLS history," New York captain Kljestan said.

"We're going up against (Sebastian) Giovinco and (Jozy) Altidore and Victor Vazquez, the three-headed monster. It's going to be very tough but I like our chances."

In the western conference, Vancouver were equally dominant as they thrashed the San Jose Earthquakes 5-0 at home.

The Whitecaps turned in a scintillating performance in a game highlighted by a 28-yard free-kick goal by midfielder Cristian Techera.

He curled a left-footed strike over the wall and just inside the near post to put the Whitecaps up 2-0 in the 57th minute and break San Jose's resistance.

Fellow Uruguayan Nicolas Mezquida scored two late goals, while Fredy Montera and Kendall Watson also finished on the scoresheet.

Vancouver will face defending MLS champions the Seattle Sounders in a western semi-final.

Source: AAP

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