Alexander Callens and Santiago Rodriguez scored early in the first half and host New York City FC earned a crucial 2-0 victory over the New York Red Bulls on Saturday afternoon in the Hudson River Derby at Yankee Stadium.
NYCFC (14-11-7, 49 points) ended a five-game winless skid (0-4-1) and swept the two-game season series with the Red Bulls for the first time. The defending champions moved to within a point of third-place New York (14-10-8, 50 points).
Callens scored his first goal in nearly four months in the opening minute and also made a key defensive play about 10 minutes later. Rodriguez set up Callens' goal and then scored in the 23rd.
Goalkeeper Sean Johnson made one save for his MLS-best 14th clean sheet and 90th regular-season clean sheet of his career.
The Red Bulls were unable to clinch third in the East and dropped to 4-2-1 in their past seven matches.
RBNY goalkeeper Carlos Coronel allowed two goals on three shots.
Callens opened the scoring almost immediately after the match began. After NYCFC were awarded a corner kick, Rodriguez spotted him at the right side of the box and Callens easily finished off a header for his first MLS goal since May 28.
Callens then made a key defensive play to preserve the lead in the 11th when he blocked a left-footed shot by Luquinhas after Johnson fell down making a save.
NYCFC went up 2-0 when Rodriguez got a cross from Gabriel Pereira and sent a left-footed shot from the center of the box into the bottom right corner.
The Red Bulls missed two golden opportunities early in the second half as Johnson smothered the ball and Caden Clark's shot sailed well over the net. In the 70th, Long saw his header sail to the left of the net.