Harrison, NJ (Sports Network) - Red Bull New York ended the 2009 season with Major League Soccer's worst record, but a year later it's a playoff team.
New York (14-8-5) not only clinched its spot in the 2010 MLS Cup Playoffs with a 1-0 win over the Kansas City Wizards at Red Bull Arena on Saturday night, it also moved to the top of the Eastern Conference table. The Red Bulls overtake Columbus by one point after the Crew battled to a scoreless draw with San Jose, also on Saturday.
Dane Richards scored the game's only goal, his fourth in five games, in the sixth minute. After a throw-in from the right side in the offensive third for New York, Kansas City defender Jimmy Conrad intercepted. But the speedy Richards swooped in to steal the ball off the veteran before he fired home his fourth goal of the season.
The Wizards (9-11-6) peppered Red Bulls' goalkeeper Bouna Coundoul with a number of shots in the game, but he made a career-high 12 saves to earn the clean sheet, his 10th of the year.
The loss severely hurts Kansas City's chances of making the playoffs, but it is not mathematically eliminated yet. It has a chance to gain ground on one of the clubs it is chasing when it hosts Seattle next Saturday.
New York hosts Western power Real Salt Lake earlier in the day Saturday in its next MLS match.