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Cincinnati down Toronto to go eight points clear in MLS Eastern Conference

LOS ANGELES (AFP) – Cincinnati trounced Toronto 3-0 to move eight points clear at the top of Major League Soccer’s Eastern Conference on Wednesday.

Goals from Colombian international Santiago Arias, Argentine midfielder Luciano Acosta and Senegalese striker Dominique Badji sealed a victory for in-form Cincinnati.

The Ohio club now lead the Eastern Conference with 43 points from 18 games and have lost only once this season.

The victory extended Cincinnati’s lead at the top of the East, with second-placed Nashville slumping to a 1-0 defeat to Montreal elsewhere on Wednesday.

Arias fired Cincinnati into the lead after 35 minutes, prodding home a rebound from close range after a corner sowed panic in the Toronto six-yard box.

FC Cincinnati midfielder Luciano Acosta shoots, scoring a goal during the second half of the team’s MLS match against Toronto FC on June 21 in Cincinnati. PHOTO: AP

Acosta made it 2-0 in the 54th minute, punishing a blunder by Toronto goalkeeper Greg Ranjitsingh, whose attempt to play a pass out from the back went straight to Cincinnati’s Marco Angulo on the edge of the penalty area.

Angulo squared to Acosta who blasted home an emphatic finish.

Acosta was involved in the third Cincinnati goal on 63 minutes, splitting the Toronto defence with a superb pass to send Badji through on goal to score.

Elsewhere on Wednesday, Nashville’s pursuit of Cincinnati was checked in a defeat to Montreal on the road.

Bryce Duke scored the game’s only goal for Montreal, steering a low shot through a crowded area into the bottom corner on 27 minutes for the Canadian club.

In the Western Conference, meanwhile, leaders St Louis FC were humbled 3-1 at home by Real Salt Lake.

Diego Luna gave Salt Lake the lead after 15 minutes, completing a flowing counter-attack to make it 1-0 before Nicholas Gioachinni leveled for St Louis six minutes later.

But two goals from Croatian veteran Damir Kreilach put Salt Lake 3-1 up to seal victory.

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