(Reuters) - Bradley Wright-Phillips scored two and made the other as New York Red Bulls beat DC United 3-0 on Sunday to close the gap on the stuttering Eastern Conference leaders to two points with three games in hand.
Wright-Phillips, who now has seven goals in his last eight games, set up Lloyd Sam for the opener after 33 minutes then put New York 2-0 up just before halftime.
He finished off a quick counter-attack in the 64th minute to seal the win over United, who have lost three Major League Soccer games in a row.
Wright-Phillips said the performance had been the perfect way to rebound from Wednesday's 3-2 defeat to Chicago Fire.
“Last week, we had a bad result. We weren’t creative and we didn’t defend well. We wanted to make that right," he added.
"Today we bounced back against a great team. We did the basics right. The back line played well and we created some chances.”
In the Western Conference, Seattle kept their playoff hopes alive thanks to a strong performance from goalkeeper Stefan Frei in a 2-1 home win over the Portland Timbers.
The Sounders are tied for the West's final playoff spot with San Jose.
Obafemi Martins and a Brad Evans penalty gave the Sounders a 2-0 lead but Portland peppered the Seattle goal with shots and Frei had to be on his game to keep his team in front.
Jack Jewsbury beat Frei in the second half but the visitors could not get the equalizer.
(Reporting by Tim Wharnsby; Editing by Peter Rutherford)