New York City FC qualified for the quarter-finals of the MLS Cup play-offs on Wednesday with a 3-1 victory over Philadelphia Union in the opening knockout round.
The New York club seized control at Yankee Stadium in the first half thanks to goals from Ismael Tajouri-Shradi and captain David Villa, his 15th of the season.
Villa’s flick set up Tajouri-Shradi for the early lead, and the Spaniard doubled the score with a well-placed shot past Philadelphia keeper Andre Blake after a crisp pass from Maximiliano Moralez. NYC then sealed the victory with a 78th-minute strike by Moralez.
The victory put City into an Eastern Conference semi-final clash with Atlanta United.
In the other knockout game Wednesday, Diego Valeri scored twice as the 10-man Portland Timbers won 2-1 at FC Dallas.
Valeri scored a 25-yard free kick midway through the first half and then with a low strike with 20 minutes remaining.
Portland will now face either top-seeded Sporting Kansas City or the second-seeded Seattle Sounders in the opener of a two-game, semi-final series on Sunday.
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