Kei Kamara's 78th-minute strike kept the Vancouver Whitecaps' playoff chances alive, as the Whitecaps scored an important 2-1 road victory over Toronto FC on Saturday to end the defending MLS Cup champions hopes of reaching the postseason.
Just five minutes after a Jozy Altidore penalty kick equalized the score, the Whitecaps went ahead for good when Kamara found space in front of Toronto's net to finish a cross from Jordon Mutch from the right side. The goal was Kamara's team-leading 14th of the season.
Between Toronto's loss and the Montreal Impact's win over Columbus earlier on Saturday, Toronto FC (9-16-6, 33 points) has officially been eliminated from the postseason race.
Toronto becomes the fourth team in MLS history to miss the playoffs the year after winning MLS Cup.
The Whitecaps (12-12-7, 43), however, are still in the thick of the postseason picture. Vancouver now sits three points behind Real Salt Lake -- which hosts Portland later Saturday -- for the final Western Conference playoff spot, and the Whitecaps still have a game at hand over RSL.
A rare goal from Russell Teibert put Vancouver ahead just four minutes into the game. Some well-placed passes from the Whitecaps cracked open Toronto's defense, allowing Yordy Reyna to find Teibert just as the midfielder raced into the box. Teibert then finished to collect his third career MLS goal and first since 2013.
Toronto outshot Vancouver by an 18-7 margin in the game, though Whitecaps goalkeeper Stefan Marinovic delivered five saves, including two big efforts in the first half. Marinovic blocked a close-range attempt from Lucas Janson in the 16th minute and then stopped a booming shot from Michael Bradley from just outside the box in the 43rd.
The breakthrough goal for Toronto came after a handball in the box from Vancouver defender Doneil Henry in the 73rd minute, which led to Altidore's successful penalty.
Toronto FC were reduced to 10 men in the 67th minute when Gregory van der Wiel was shown a straight red card after body-checking Reyna to the ground as the striker entered Toronto's box.
The Whitecaps snapped a three-game losing streak and collected their first win under interim head coach Craig Dalrymple, who replaced Carl Robinson on Sept. 25.