A late Roger Levesque did the damage for the Sounders at CenturyLink Field (formerly Qwest Field), who skipped away to a two-goal lead inside the opening 15 minutes, before the Red Bulls managed to equalise prior to the hour-mark.
Swedish midfielder Erik Friberg produced a brilliant opener in the 11th minute when he controlled the ball on the edge of the area from a Red Bulls clearance, cut back onto his right foot and curled a shot in through a pack of players and past NY keeper Greg Sutton.
Less than two minutes later, Osvaldo Alonso hit a neat left-footed volley from the right edge of the area to make it before 2-0 before the visitors hit back through Dane Richards's spectacular 38th minute floater.
A deflected own goal from Sounders defender Zach Scott from a Jan Gunnar Solli cross in the 58th minute got the Red Bulls back on level terms but enter super sub Levesque who came off the bench to score with a glancing header in the 68th minute before he grabbed a second, with help from goalkeeper Sutton's error, with 12 minutes remaining.
The win put Seattle to second on the Western Conference table as New York remained top in the East.