Behind two goals from forward Elias Manoel, a 2-0 victory over Charlotte FC helped the New York Red Bulls clinch their first home playoff game since 2018.
In his sixth appearance for the club since he joined in August, Manoel scored his first goal in the 8th minute, when a long-range strike from Lewis Morgan was parried away by the Charlotte goalkeeper. The ball fell to Manoel, who had a clinical finish to put the Red Bulls up 1-0.
Goalkeeper Carlos Coronel kept Charlotte off the board multiple times in the first half with a flurry of saves.
Manoel doubled New York's advantage in the 55th minute. Frankie Amaya won the ball back from a header that dropped to Manoel, who turned and fired into the top corner of the net.
With a 2-0 final score, the Red Bulls earned their first clean sheet at home since the 3-0 U.S. Open Cup victory over New York City FC in June.
New York finished the season at 53 points, in fourth place in the Eastern Conference, and will host Cincinnati (49 pts, 5th place).
The match against Cincinnati will be the Red Bulls' first home playoff match since they faced off against Atlanta United in the 2018 MLS playoffs.
New York and Cincinnati have faced off twice so far this season, with both matches ending in a 1-1 draw.
The date and time of the match is still to be determined.