Cincinnati becomes first team to clinch MLS playoff spot behind Brandon Vazquez goal

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Luciano Acosta and Brandon Vazquez scored five minutes apart in the second half and Cincinnati became the first team to clinch an MLS playoff spot after a 2-1 victory over Atlanta United on Wednesday night.

Cincinnati (17-3-6) secured a playoff spot nearly two months before Decision Day on Oct. 21. The club has 57 points with eight games remaining — in a chase for New England’s single-season points record of 73 set in 2021.

Atlanta (11-8-8) had a two-game winning streak snapped.

Acosta scored his 13th goal of the season in the 75th minute to tie it at 1-all. Acosta found Junior Moreno with a pass and then smashed a one-timer into the goal. Acosta has scored more goals (seven) than any other player against Atlanta, but just two have come while playing for Cincinnati.

Vazquez redirected Alvaro Barreal’s cross in the 80th minute.

Atlanta midfielder Edwin Mosquera scored his first MLS goal in the 10th by volleying home a deflected cross at the penalty spot.

Cincinnati returns home to host Orlando City on Saturday. Atlanta travels to play FC Dallas on Saturday.

Reporting by The Associated Press.

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