Red Bulls can take top spot in Shield race, East with win over Portland

IMAGE, MATT KREMKAU FOR EMPIRE OF SOCCER

by DAVE MARTINEZ

The New York Red Bulls may have dropped their last match against the New England Revolution, but they woke up winners on Sunday morning.

Whether looking at the race for the top spot in the Eastern Conference or the Supporters’ Shield race, the Red Bulls chances have been buoyed in both arenas thanks to several helpful results this weekend

As it currently stands, a win over the Portland Timbers Sunday afternoon will put them atop of both the Eastern Conference and Shield races.

In the Eastern Conference, both DC United and New England suffered defeat on Saturday. DC fell to the resurgent Columbus Crew 2-1 at RFK Stadium while the red-hot Montreal Impact downed the Revolution 3-0 at Stade Saputo. With the victory, the Columbus Crew now hold the top spot in the East (13W, 9L, 8D 47 pts.), with the Revolution in second place (46 pts.), followed by the Red Bulls and DC United at 45 pts. a piece.

A major advantage for the Red Bulls? They have three games in hand on all three Eastern Conference powers heading into Sunday’s encounter against the Portland Timbers. A victory this weekend propels them into first in the East — with two games in hand.

As for the Supporters Shield race, the aforementioned DC and New England fell, as did the LA Galaxy, FC Dallas and the Vancouver Whitecaps. A win over Portland puts New York at 48 points — tied with the Vancouver Whitecaps for the Shield lead.