Red Bulls beat Union to clinch playoff berth

October 20, 2011 7:40:30 PM PDT
The New York Red Bulls took advantage of an own goal in the eighth minute to beat the Philadelphia Union 1-0 Thursday night, clinch an MLS playoff spot.

New York (10-8-16), playing without leading scorer Thierry Henry, pulled into a tie with Houston and Colorado with 46 points for the eighth of 10 playoff spots. They will have to wait, however, for the Dynamo and the Rapids to play their respective finales this weekend to determine their exact wildcard seeding.

The Union (11-8-15) remained in second place in the Eastern Conference with 48 points. Though assured of a playoff spot, they could finish as low as fourth in the East and eighth in the playoff seedings depending on the weekend's games.

With Henry sitting out due to a red card in Saturday's loss to Sporting K.C., Dan Richards moved up to forward and headed a cross from Teemu Tainio off the left post. The rebound caromed off diving goalkeeper Fayrd Mondragon's back and in for the only score of the match.

The Red Bulls controlled the play in the first half, and had chances to extend the lead but Mondragon made a leg save against Richards and stopped a point-blank shot by Luke Rodgers late in the half.

New York went into a defensive shell in the second half, the back line marking the Union's forwards tightly. Philadelphia failed to mount a serious threat after that.

(Copyright 2011 Philadelphia Union. Reprinted by permission)

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