REUTERS – New York Red Bulls midfielder Mike Grella scored the fastest goal in Major League Soccer history when his deflected shot found the net after only seven seconds against the Philadelphia Union on Sunday.
Grella beat the previous record by Australian international Tim Cahill, also for the Red Bulls, in 2013 by one second.
The fast start paved the way for an emphatic victory by the Red Bulls as they added three more goals before half time, including a second by Grella, in the 4-1 win.
The result officially clinched top spot in the Eastern Conference for the Red Bulls, with just one regular season game left.
D.C. United are holding second place, which guarantees a first-round bye in the playoffs, after a 4-0 away thumping of the Chicago Fire, but are only one point ahead of the Columbus Crew and two in front of fourth-placed Toronto FC.
In the Western Conference, the Portland Timbers took a huge step towards securing a playoff berth with a 5-2 win at the second-placed Los Angeles Galaxy.
Trailing 1-0 at the break after a Robbie Keane strike, the Timbers stormed back and scored five times in the second half, three of which were inside 10 minutes.
Portland’s fourth goal, by Liberian midfielder Darlington Nagbe, came just 18 seconds after play had restarted following a second Keane goal.
The win lifted the Timbers to fourth in the West with 50 points, two points clear of the Seattle Sounders and Sporting Kansas City, and three in front of seventh-placed San Jose Earthquakes.
The top six teams in each conference advance to the post-season.
Seattle secured a 1-1 away draw against the Houston Dynamo.
In a drab encounter devoid of many chances, Nigerian striker Obafemi Martins secured Seattle a point with an 82nd minute equaliser.
(Reporting by Andrew Both in Cary, North Carolina; Editing by Greg Stutchbury)