HOUSTON (AP) – Tim Cahill scored the fastest goal in MLS history, and the New York Red Bulls beat the Houston Dynamo 3-0 on Sunday to extend their unbeaten streak to seven games.
New York (16-9-8) took over first place in the Eastern Conference and has the best record in the league with one game remaining. Houston's five-game unbeaten streak was snapped, and the Dynamo (13-11-9) are sixth in the East with one game remaining. The top five teams in each conference make the playoffs.
''It's a big win for us,'' New York coach Mike Petke said. ''We knew we were going to be under pressure. We were willing to give up a lot of possession because at the end of the day, we knew if we were solid in our defending and our shape, we weren't worried about how long they had the ball because we knew they wouldn't break through.''
Cahill put New York ahead 8 seconds into the game, getting a pass from Dax McCarty, heading it forward and sending a blast from outside the upper right box to inside the near post.
The previous fastest goal in MLS history was Dwayne De Rosario's score 11 seconds into a 2003 game.
''It's a great feeling because how much the goal meant for us to settle down straight in the game,'' Cahill said. ''We didn't have to chase the game, and after that, we just had to keep our position. For me, it was a special goal. Definitely a special goal and something I won't forget because the meaning of our team.''
New York extended the lead to 2-0 in the 65th minute. After Houston goalkeeper Tally Hall batted a ball away, Peguy Luyindula headed it back into the box and Ibrahim Sekagya converted another header for the goal.
Second-half substitute Bradley Wright-Phillips closed out the scoring in the 75th minute. He almost had another one in the 90th minute, but his header went off the cross bar.
New York goalkeeper Luis Robles made a solid stop on Will Bruin's shot in the first half, preserving a 1-0 lead.
''Disappointing afternoon, it's an obvious one,'' Houston coach Dominic Kinnear said. ''Even at 1-0, after that we had our chances to get back into the game and obviously some misplays led to them getting more goals. So we're disappointed, we need to win and get a positive result next Sunday with a little bit of help from some friends around the league and then hopefully we can join the playoffs.''