(Reuters) - The New York Red Bulls clinched a berth in the Major League Soccer postseason and climbed to the top of the Eastern Conference on Sunday with a 2-0 victory over Portland. Goals from Felipe and Damien Perrinelle in the first half sealed the win for New York, who became the first team into the playoffs. New York are on 48 points, one more than Columbus Crew in second. Portland, on 41 points, hold the sixth playoff spot in the West.
With the score tied at 0-0 and half-time fast approaching, Felipe brought the game to life with a 30-yard strike to give New York the lead in the 43rd minute.
Things quickly got worse for the home side as they fell 2-0 down in first-half stoppage time after Perrinelle headed home.
Red Bulls goalie Luis Robles made several excellent saves to keep his ninth clean sheet of the season. In Sunday's other match, Philadelphia Union beat Houston Dynamo 2-0 thanks to goals from Tranquillo Barnetta, his first in MLS, and C.J. Sapong.
Union are now three points adrift of sixth-placed Montreal for the final playoff spot in the East.
(Writing by Jahmal Corner in Los Angeles; Editing by Peter Rutherford; firstname.lastname@example.org; +822 3704 5698 Reuters; Messaging: email@example.com)