The New York Red Bulls secured the final spot in the MLS Cup Playoffs Thursday night, earning a 1-0 victory over the Philadelphia Union at Red Bull Arena. New York (10-8-16, 46 points) needed at least a tie to guarantee that its season would continue.
New York got the only goal of the match in the eighth minute. Dane Richards forced an own goal by heading a gorgeous cross from Jan Gunnar Solli off the left post. The ball ricocheted off Union goalkeeper Faryd Mondragon’s back and into the net.
The victory by the Red Bulls eliminated the Chicago Fire and Portland Timbers from playoff contention.
New York played without striker Thierry Henry, who scored 14 goals this season. Henry was ineligible due to a red card he received Saturday in a 2-0 loss to Sporting KC.
The Union nearly got the equalizer in the 66th minute, when Sebastien LeToux’s free kick went untouched into the net past Red Bulls keeper Frank Rost. The goal was disallowed due to an offside call.
The Red Bulls will await the results of this weekend’s final regular-season matches to see who they will draw in the opening round of the playoffs.