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Luquinhas nets two goals as Red Bulls blank Toronto

Luquinhas scored two crucial goals in the second half and the New York Red Bulls kept their playoff hopes alive in the tight Eastern Conference race with a 3-0 victory over visiting Toronto FC on Saturday night in Harrison, N.J.

Attempting to reach the playoffs for the 14th straight season, the Red Bulls (10-13-10, 40 points) head into “Decision Day” in two weeks in 10th place. New York shares the same point total as ninth-place D.C. United and trails eighth-place Montreal by one point.

Tom Barlow also scored late in the first half for New York before Luquinhas struck in the 48th and 65th minutes. It was the Brazilian’s first goal since March 18 and second career two-goal match in MLS competitions.

Luquihnas pushed New York’s lead to 2-0 when he finished off a fast break with Elias Manoel by sending a right-footed shot from outside the box to the bottom right corner. He made it 3-0 by eluding Toronto’s Kobe Franklin and lifting a right-footed shot into the bottom left corner after getting a pass from Kyle Duncan.

New York’s Carlos Coronel made one save and notched his eighth clean sheet this season as the Red Bulls moved to 3-1-2 over their past six following a three-game losing streak.

Toronto goalie Luka Gavran allowed three goals on five shots. Toronto (4-19-10) was blanked for the 16th time and is getting outscored 18-3 on a six-match losing streak.

In a mostly sluggish opening half, New York attempted eight shots and had two others blocked but could not break through until Toronto’s Michael Bradley made a costly mistake near the goal.

Hounded by Manoel, Bradley lost the ball after getting a return feed from Alonso Coello. Following the turnover, Manoel slid the ball over to Barlow and the Red Bulls took the lead when he blasted a right-footed shot from the middle of the box into the bottom right corner for his third goal and first in 21 matches across all competitions.

–Field Level Media

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