Oct 30 (Reuters) - Italy striker Sebastian Giovinco’s second-half free kick proved the difference as Toronto FC beat the New York Red Bulls 2-1 on the road in the opening leg of the MLS Eastern Conference semi-final on Monday.
The former Juventus forward, who has scored more goals from free kicks than anyone else in the short history of the MLS, displayed his pinpoint precision in the 72nd minute when he curled the ball into the net from 24 yards out.
Toronto opened the scoring in the eighth minute when Spanish midfielder Victor Vazquez slotted home the rebound after Jozy Altidore’s cross had been pushed out to near the penalty spot by New York goalkeeper Luis Robles.
The Red Bulls equalised during stoppage time at the end of the first half courtesy of a Daniel Royer spot kick after Drew Moor had fouled English striker Bradley Wright-Phillips.
Toronto, the top playoff seed, host the second leg on Sunday. (Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto, editing by Nick Mulvenney)