Daniel Royer scored his first MLS goal in the 60th minute and the New York Red Bulls clinched a playoff berth for the seventh straight year with a 1-0 victory over the Montreal Impact on Saturday night.
Royer headed down Chris Duvall’s cross, bouncing it into the right corner. The Austrian international joined New York (13-9-9) on Aug. 3.
“We followed the game plan well, trying to hurt the Red Bulls on the counter, but they managed to score that goal,” said Impact coach Mauro Biello.
“We’re stabilizing things defensively, but we have to hit the back of the net.”
Bradley Wright-Phillips’ six-game scoring streak came to an end, but the Red Bulls took a share of the top spot in the Eastern Conference, tied at 48 points with Toronto FC and New York City FC.
Red Bulls captain Dax McCarty returned to the lineup for the first time since suffering a small tibial plateau fracture in New York’s 2-2 draw at Chicago on July 31.
New York extended its club-record unbeaten streak to 13 games.
Montreal (9-10-11) remained fifth in the East.
“Had our finishing been a bit better, we could have gotten more from our performance tonight,” said Montreal’s Didier Drogba. “It’s tough to be efficient on the attacking side away from home, but it is not for a lack of effort.”