Sebastian Giovinco scored twice as Toronto won its third-straight game on Saturday night by beating D.C. United 2-1. The win also extends TFC's unbeaten streak to four matches.
"I would be lying if I said that I don't look at the table. I think we all do, and we know the importance of every win," said Toronto coach Greg Vanney.
"For us it's one game at a time, get results and if we keep doing what we're doing we'll climb the ladder and hopefully we'll be there in the end."
The win snapped Washington's (8-4-4) 16-game home unbeaten streak and improved Toronto FC's record against United to 7-12-3.
Sebastian Giovinco evened the scoring at 1-1 for Toronto (6-5-1) in the 34th minute, beating two defenders with a skilled cutback and powering a shot over the head of goalkeeper Andrew Dykstra. His go-ahead goal came in the 83rd off a knuckleball from distance.
Giovinco has a goal or an assist in 10 of 12 games this season. In all competitions, he has eight goals and seven assists.
Steve Birnbaum scored his first MLS goal in the sixth minute to open the scoring for Washington — easily redirecting a Fabian Espindola corner. Espindola had a shot hit the post in the fifth. Kofi Opare had a goal disallowed in the 60th after Birnbaum was whistled offside on Espindola's free kick.
Jonathan Osorio filled in for midfielder Michael Bradley who is away with the United States national team as they play a pair exhibitions in Europe. Vanney called his play excellent and Osorio didn't object.
"I think I did pretty well," Osorio said. "I think I helped the team a lot in possession, keeping the ball and trying to maintain it while they were pressing a lot. I thought I did a good job at holding it up and creating chances for the team."
United said their goal was to keep Giovinco contained on Saturday, but gave him credit for his performance.
"It's pretty simple, we went in to the game trying to limit Giovinco's influence and that didn't go so well. But, he's a special player," DC coach Ben Olsen said. "We are going to come up against very good players in this league and he's certainly at the top of that list. On any given day he can do what he did today. He's a difference maker."
With files from The Associated Press