Red Bulls become first to clinch playoff spot with win over Timbers

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Felipe and Damien Perrinelle scored three minutes apart late in the first half and the New York Red Bulls beat the Portland Timbers 2–0 on Sunday to become the first MLS team to clinch a playoff spot.

New York (14–8–6) moved into first place in the Eastern Conference, a point ahead of Columbus. The Red Bulls have won three of four and 11 of 14.

Portland (11–10–8) remained sixth in the Western Conference, a point ahead of San Jose for the last Western Conference playoff spot. The Timbers are winless in four games.

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Felipe opened the scoring in the 43rd minute. After receiving a throw-in near midfield, the midfielder slowly dribbled toward the goal. With no defenders applying pressure, Felipe had time to measure his shot from 30 yards and blasted the ball over goalkeeper Adam Kwarasey for his third goal of the season.

New York nearly scored a minute later when a corner kick wasn't cleared and a header was sent toward the goal, but defender Alvas Powell cleared the shot off the goal line.

The second goal came a few seconds later, when Sacha Kljestan sent a looping cross from the right sideline into the penalty area, where Perrinelle jumped to head a floating shot over Kwarasey and into the net for his second goal of the season.

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New York goalkeeper Luis Robles made four saves for his ninth shutout of the season. He made a two saves in the 87th minute. Diego Valeri's free kick deflected off the wall, forcing Robles to scramble to his left to smother the shot, then block the follow-up attempt by Nat Borchers out for a corner kick.

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