Goals by Daniel Royer and Tim Parker led the New York Red Bulls to a 2-0 defeat of Atlanta United at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, N.J., on Sunday in a showdown of the top teams in Major League Soccer.
New York (19-7-5, 62 points) pulled to within a point of Atlanta (19-6-6, 63) in the race for the Supporters' Shield (best team) as well as the lead in the Eastern Conference. Both teams have three games left, beginning Oct. 6 when the Red Bulls visit San Jose and Atlanta hosts New England.
Royer scored on a penalty in the 39th minute, and Parker used assists from Alex Muyl and Marc Rzatkowski in the 75th for the insurance score. Luis Robles made two saves for his 12th shutout.
The Red Bulls were without suspended forward Bradley Wright-Phillips (19 goals, eight assists) and U.S. National Team midfielder Tyler Adams (back) but still were the aggressor.
It almost paid off in the 25th minute when New York was awarded a penalty kick, but the decision was then overruled. Muyl took a quick restart ball and tried to move around goalkeeper Brad Guzan, who reached out and got to the ball with his hand before Muyl went tumbling over him.
Once referee Robert Sibiga consulted with the video assistant referee, the PK was rescinded.
That was not the case in the 38th minute when a shot by Aaron Long was called a handball on Chris McCann. Royer laced the shot for his first goal since Aug. 18 and his 11th of the season.
The Red Bulls are 18-2-2 this season when scoring first.
Guzan was more successful in the 86th minute on the Red Bulls' second penalty kick -- a handball to Eric Remedi -- when he stopped Kaku.