Mid-week, the Red Bulls got the results they needed to stay atop the Supporters' Shield race: Sporting Kansas City and the Houston Dynamo played to a scoreless draw and the Seattle Sounders were disemboweled at home by Kekuta Manneh and the Vancouver Whitecaps.
Last night, they got another favorable result. One that puts the regular season outcome in their hands.
The Red Bulls would remain at the top of the standings so long as the Sounders dropped points to their northwest neighbors, the Portland Timbers. A Kalif Alhassan goal just before halftime put the Timbers up, and a combination of the crossbar, an Osvaldo Alonso red card and a Clint Dempsey injury kept the Sounders out of it.
And just like that the Sounders games in hand advantage goes up in smoke. Every serious Shield contender has two games left. The Red Bulls, despite sharing the points lead, have both tiebreakers (wins and goals for) over the Timbers.
So long as the Red Bulls win their last two, away against a Dynamo squad still trying to secure a playoff spot and home against a Chicago Fire team teetering on the edge of the post-season, they'll have their first (real) trophy ever.
That's arguably a harder road than their competitors. The Timbers finish the season home to Real Salt Lake, who sits on 52 points and within striking distance of the Shield should either the Timbers or the Red Bulls drop points, and the lowly Chivas USA. RSL also finish the season against Chvias.
Sporting Kansas City, the other team just a point off the pace, ends their season home to D.C. United and a Champions League match-up against Honduran club Olimpia at Sporting Park, before closing the season with a trip to see the Philadelphia Union.
But none of that matters so long as the Red Bulls win, which is a good, if not edgy, feeling. And while past performance gives little in the way of comfort, how many times has this incarnation of the team proven us wrong?