Sebastian Giovinco put Toronto on track to reach the Eastern Conference Finals in MLS thanks to his winner against the New York Red Bulls.

The Italian star struck with a 72nd-minute free-kick to secure a 2-1 win for Toronto in the first leg of the semi-final tie at Red Bull Arena on Monday.

Victor Vazquez put away the opener for the visitors in the eighth minute, making the most of a rebound after Red Bulls goalkeeper Luis Robles struggled to deal with a cross.

But the Red Bulls levelled just before half-time, Daniel Royer converting from the penalty spot after Drew Moor brought down Bradley Wright-Phillips.

However, Giovinco delivered again for Toronto, curling in a 30-yard free-kick to seal his side's win.

The victory puts the Supporters' Shield winners in a great position ahead of the second leg at their BMO Field home on Sunday.

In the Western Conference, Houston Dynamo and the Portland Timbers drew 0-0 in the first leg of their semi-final at BBVA Compass Stadium.