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Giovinco brace lifts streaking Toronto over Montreal in MLS

Montreal (AFP) – Sebastian Giovinco scored twice and Jozy Altidore added a goal as Toronto FC beat the Impact 3-1 in Montreal on Sunday in an all-Canada Major League Soccer clash.

Ignacio Piatti delivered Montreal’s goal late in the second half when he converted a Blerim Dzemaili pass.

But once again it was Toronto on top, as they pushed their unbeaten streak to nine games and edged closer to securing the Supporters’ Shield for the best regular-season record in MLS.

With 53 points and nine games remaining, Toronto are homing in on the best regular-season record in league history — the 68 points of the 1998 Los Angeles Galaxy.

After an evenly balanced first half, Giovinco curled in one of his trademark right-footed free kicks in the final few minutes before halftime.

Montreal goalkeeper Evan Bush barely moved as the ball found the corner of the net to his right.

Altidore scored his 11th goal of the season in the 52nd minute when he was left unmarked to convert Marky Delgado’s cross from the right side.

The match was into stoppage time when Piatti scored, but Giovinco quickly restored the two-goal margin just a minute later.

Montreal’s winning streak was snapped at four games, but the Impact are still in the MLS Eastern Conference playoff picture. The two teams will still face each other twice more in the run-up to the MLS playoffs.

Giovinco got into the spirit of the sometimes tense Eastern Canada rivalry, wiping mock tears from his cheeks after his first goal and blowing kisses to the crowd after his second.

The match marked just one of the regional rivalries on display in MLS during the week, starting with Friday’s 1-1 draw between New York Red Bulls and New York City FC.

In the first edition of the New York derby to end in a draw, New York City’s David Villa — recently recalled for Spain’s upcoming World Cup qualifiers — found Maxi Moralez in the penalty area for an opening goal, before Gonzalo Veron converted a penalty for Red Bulls.

Sunday’s California Clasico brought only more misery for the Los Angeles Galaxy, who fell 3-0 at home to the San Jose Earthquakes.

Valeri “Vako” Qazaishvili opened the scoring with a crisp strike shortly before halftime, and Galaxy were forced to play most of the second half with 10 men after defender Nathan Smith was shown a straight red card for a tackle on Andres Imperiale.

That was too much for the Galaxy to overcome, with Marco Urena and Chris Wondolowski adding late goals to swell San Jose’s margin of victory.

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