New York reserve forward Juan Agudelo scored a goal off a feed from Rafa Marquez in the 68th minute. Agudelo entered the game in the 62nd minute as a substitute and got his sixth goal of the season.
Davide Chiumiento scored in the 23rd minute for the Whitecaps (4-13-10), who dropped to 0-10-5 away from home.
"I was very pleased with the first half. I think that we established a game plan and the guys carried it out very well," said Whitecaps head coach Tom Soehn. "We found a lot of space with Davide like we thought we would and he made a real difference in the hole."
The Red Bulls (6-6-15) played down a man after Jan Gunnar Solli was ejected right before halftime and fell to 0-3-5 in their last eight. New York moved one point ahead of Portland and two ahead of D.C. United for the last playoff spot.