New York Red Bulls claimed pole position in the Eastern Conference on Sunday, leapfrogging Columbus Crew with a win at Portland Timbers.
Portland had not lost at home in 10 MLS matches but a rapid salvo from the Red Bulls just prior to half-time saw the visitors win 2-0 and become the first club to clinch a spot in the 2015 play-offs.
Felipe Martins gave the Red Bulls the lead in the 43rd minute with a 35-yard strike after the Timbers’ defence kept backing away from him, while Damien Perrinelle doubled the away team’s advantage with almost the last touch of the half, heading Sal Zizzo’s cross into the net.
The Red Bulls rose to 48 points, one ahead of the Crew in the East’s standings, while the Timbers (41) sit sixth in the Western Conference.
In Philadelphia, the Union notched their first victory at home in five MLS fixtures – knocking off Houston Dynamo 2-0 thanks to goals from Tranquillo Barnetta and C. J. Sapong.