The New York Red Bulls hosted the Philadelphia Union and a large number of travelling fans in tonight's final regular season match. The road to the playoffs was clear: a win or a tie would clinch the final remaining wildcard spot. With captain Thierry Henry serving his suspension, coach Hans Backe chose to move Dane Richards up to striker for the night, and the choice paid off as RBNY won 1-0 and punched their ticket to the MLS Cup playoffs.

The lone goal came soon after kickoff. On a cross from Jan Gunnar Solli, the 5'7" Richards won a header deep inside the Union's penalty area. The shot bounced off the woodwork, and rebounded off the back of a diving Faryd Mondragon into the net to put NY up 1-0. The 7th minute goal would have been Richard's seventh of the season, but was instead ruled as an own goal. (UPDATE: The league has credited Richards with the goal after reviewing the play.)

The Red Bulls were not content to sit back and grind out a defensive win, as they continue to pressure with attacking play for the full 90 minutes, creating a number of dangerous situations around Philly's box. The Union's best chance to level the game came when Carlos Valdes headed a Sebastian Le Toux free kick into the net, but was judged to be offside.

New York finish the season with a 10-8-16 record and eliminate the Portland Timbers and the Chicago Fire from the playoff hunt, who needed the Red Bulls to lose to keep them alive. While qualifying for the playoffs will help avoid being labeled as the biggest bust in MLS history, the team faces a tough six-game road in hopes of grabbing their first MLS Cup. RBNY's first match of the playoffs will be an away play-in game this coming Wednesday or Thursday. (The opponent will be determined based on the outcome of results this weekend.)