MLS Review: Villa keeps New York City top
While Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard going toe-to-toe once more received the bulk of the attention, it was David Villa's sixth-minute goal that separated the two sides in New York.
Villa reacted quickest to Ronald Matarrita's blocked effort, bagging his joint league-leading 16th goal of the season.
Undefeated in four games, City are a point ahead of Toronto FC, who defeated Philadelphia Union 3-1 to extend their own unbeaten run to six.
Reigning MVP Sebastian Giovinco found himself level with Villa in the goalscoring charts, with his 18th-minute opener.
Jozy Altidore and Drew Moor scored for the Canadian side, while Ken Tribbett provided some consolation for the fourth-placed Union, now seven points from top in the east.
MINNESOTA UNITED FC
Meanwhile, Orlando City were unable to cement their place in the post-season spots, only attaining a 0-0 against Colorado Rapids.
Tim Howard was in unbeatable form, keeping his fourth clean sheet in eight matches.
In the final two Saturday matches, Real Salt Lake defeated FC Dallas 1-0, while Sporting Kansas City were 2-0 victors over Vancouver Whitecaps, with Jacob Peterson and Benny Feilhaber's goals securing the points.