Prior to the round of matches, the Red Bulls required victory to become the tenth team in the finals and they produced that with a 1-0 home result over Philadelphia Union which came courtesy of Dane Richards' eighth minute header which deflected off the upright and bounced back in off Union keeper Faryd Mondragon.
The win gave New York a fifth-place finish on the Eastern Conference table setting up a meeting with the West's fourth-place side FC Dallas in Texas on Wednesday.
Elsewhere in MLS, Danny Koevermans netted his eighth goal in nine starts as Toronto FC forced a 2-2 draw with New England Revolution to finish second bottom in the East and third bottom overall as the Revs ended on equal points with Vancouver Whitecaps to have the worst record in MLS.
The Whitecaps could have finished above the Revs as they were a goal up at home against reigning champions Colorado Rapids but lost 2-1 as Gary Smith's men finished fifth in the West.
Sporting Kansas City moved to the top of the East with a 1-0 away win at DC United, who ended up seventh, whilst Jalil Anibaba scored a brace as Chicago Fire defeated Columbus Crew 3-2 with the losers securing a fourth-place finish in the East and the Fire ending just three points out of the play-offs.
San Jose Earthquakes got some late season joy with a 4-2 victory over FC Dallas to move to seventh in the West whilst Supporters' Shield winners LA Galaxy made plenty of changes, with 16-year old Jack McBean opening his MLS account, but were beaten 3-1 by Houston Dynamo who finished second in the East.
2011 MLS season - Week 32 scores