Brian White's second-half goal lifted the Red Bulls to a 1-0 win over the Houston Dynamo in New Jersey on Thursday (AEST).
Alex Muyl's hard work led to White's first MLS goal, the forward tapping in a cross in the 55th minute.
The win was the Red Bulls' 17th of the league season, moving them a point ahead of Atlanta United.
Pushing to make the play-offs, defending MLS Cup champion Toronto suffered a 2-0 loss to Portland Timbers.
Diego Chara and David Guzman scored in the second half for the Timbers at Providence Park.
The Timbers moved into fifth in the Western Conference, while Toronto are ninth in the East.
Elsewhere, Philadelphia Union extended its winning run in all competitions to five with a 2-0 victory over DC United and the struggling San Jose Earthquakes stunned West leader Dallas 4-3.