TORONTO – D.C. United took advantage of a mistake by Toronto FC goalkeeper Milos Kocic in the 86th minute to earn a 1-0 victory on a goal by Hamdi Salihi and gather three crucial points in the race for playoff positioning.
D.C. United’s third victory over Toronto this season helped them solidify their playoff position with a 16-10-6 record with two regular-season games remaining.
Before an announced crowd of 15,281 at BMO Field, Toronto FC (5-20-7) extended their winless streak to 12 games, a run that dates back to July 18 and includes nine losses.
Kocic mishandled a low shot from former TFC forward Maicon Santos, leaving an easy opening for Salihi to tap the ball in. It was the 16th goal Toronto have allowed in the final 15 minutes of a league game this season.
D.C. United entered the game in a playoff position and are now undefeated in their past five games, including four wins, with Saturday’s result.
Toronto’s last win in the league was a 2-1 verdict over the Colorado Rapids.
The teams went into halftime without a goal, although D.C. United thought they might have been awarded a penalty kick in the final minutes of the first half when Nick DeLeon went down in the box.
Luis Silva, who was paired with Quincy Amarikwa up top to open the game, had the first real chance of the game in the ninth minute when he got on the end of Reggie Lambe’s cross to the edge of the six-yard box. Unfortunately for Silva, United goalkeeper Bill Hamid was there to smother his shot.
D.C. United squandered a chance in the 30th minute when a ball bounced away from defender Darren O’Dea. It fell to Lionard Pajoy, but the forward blazed his shot way over the bar.
Amarikwa, who picked up a hamstring injury in last Saturday’s loss to the New York Red Bulls, was helped off the field in the 33rd minute and was replaced by Andrew Wiedeman.
Ryan Johnson had a chance after a nice buildup for Toronto FC in the 61st minute as Jeremy Hall worked the ball up and into the middle of the pitch before passing to Wiedeman who set up Johnson but Hamid extended to make the save.
Three minutes later, Hall had a chance from seven-yards out but whiffed on his shot.
From then on, it was mostly quiet until Salihi popped up to punish Kocic’s blunder, sending Toronto to yet another loss and giving D.C. a result that inches them closer to sealing their spot in the postseason.
Both teams are off until Oct. 20 when Toronto plays at home against the Montreal Impact and D.C. United host the Columbus Crew.
Lineups and boxscore (MLSsoccer.com)
Opta Chalkboard (MLSsoccer.com)