Sports

Altidore leads Toronto FC to 4-0 rout of San Jose; TFC clinches playoff spot

Toronto FC's Jonathan Osorio, right, vies for position with San Jose Earthquakes' Tommy Thompson during second half MLS soccer action in Toronto on Saturday, September 9, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jon Blacker

Toronto FC's Jonathan Osorio, right, vies for position with San Jose Earthquakes' Tommy Thompson during second half MLS soccer action in Toronto on Saturday, September 9, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jon Blacker

Toronto FC has the best record in Major League Soccer and has clinched a post-season berth. But captain Michael Bradley and head coach Greg Vanney insist there's still work to be done.

Jozy Altidore had a pair of second-half goals as Toronto FC routed the San Jose Earthquakes 4-0 on Saturday. Toronto's win, coupled with the Montreal Impact's 1-0 loss in New England later Saturday night, guaranteed TFC a playoff spot with six games remaining in the regular season.

"We feel good what about where we are, what we've done, but there isn't one person who's satisfied. Not even close," said Bradley. "When those are your starting points, then it means the work every day to grow, to improve, that part is fun."

Victor Vazquez and Canadian substitute Jonathan Osorio also scored as league-leading Toronto (17-3-8) extended its home regular-season undefeated streak to 15 games (12-0-3) at BMO Field that dates back to last October. Goalkeeper Alex Bono made three saves for the clean sheet as TFC won its fifth straight.

Montreal's match in New England started shortly after Toronto's dominant victory concluded. Vanney said that instead of focusing on a match that could clinch his side a playoff berth, he would be focused on minor-league USL match between Toronto FC II and New York Red Bulls II on the pitch at BMO Field.

"Maybe on the phone next to me I'll have (the Montreal match) going," said Vanney. "We'll clinch if we clinch. I'll find out somewhere down the road if we've clinched. It would be nice, but at the same time our focus now is on recovering from this game and getting ready to go to L.A. to get three points and keep improving as a team."

Bradley said he would watch the match, but not live. Instead, he'd take it in at his leisure because he tries to watch every MLS game.

Marco Urena led San Jose (10-12-6) with two shots on target before he was subbed off in the 73rd minute.

Toronto FC dominated play in the first half, possessing the ball 69.7 per cent of the time and firing eight shots to San Jose's three.

Vazquez finally broke through in the 26th minute when San Jose 'keeper Andrew Tarbell jumped to intercept a cross from Steven Beitashour but missed, letting the ball fall to the TFC forward's feet. Vazquez made no mistake, settling the ball down long enough to send it into the net with a quick shot.

Osorio, who is from Toronto, subbed for Sebastian Giovinco at halftime. Giovinco was pulled as a precautionary measure with tightness in his quadriceps. Vanney said he that Giovinco was OK after the game.

That change didn't slow down Toronto's unrelenting attack as Altidore redirected a through pass from Vazquez with his left foot past Tarbell in the 48th minute to make it 2-0. It was Altidore's 12th goal of the season and Vazquez's 15th assist.

Altidore struck again in the 64th minute, heading down a cross from Beitashour in a crowded box, bouncing it past Tarbell to the delight of the 29,050 in attendance. Altidore was subbed off after his second goal in favour of Edmonton's Tosaint Ricketts.

"I've tried to use different guys in substitution roles to try and keep getting guys out," said Vanney on preparing for a deep playoff run. "There's games ahead that I'm looking at to try to make sure we keep guys sharp, get guys playing."

Before the smoke from the fireworks celebrating Altidore's goal could clear the field, Osorio found the back of the net to give Toronto a 4-0 lead. Osorio blasted in his shot from about five feet out of the penalty area, bouncing it past Tarbell in the 66th minute.

Things got worse for San Jose in the 76th minute as midfielder Darwin Ceren was shown a red card for his dangerous tackle on Toronto's Marco Delgado.

Notes: As part of Canadian Armed Forces appreciation day, General Jonathan Vance delivered the official game ball, with an honour guard from the army, navy and air force presenting the Canadian and American flags, while a CF-18 jet did a fly by of BMO Field. ... It was Toronto FC's sixth-straight sellout.

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