David Villa took the lead in the MLS golden boot standings with a brace in New York City's 2-0 win at Houston Dynamo on Friday.
Spanish veteran Villa scored twice in the second half at BBVA Compass Stadium to move to 21 goals for the regular season, one more than New York Red Bulls' Bradley Wright-Phillips.
A limp first half in Texas produced just two shots on target, both of them coming from the visitors. Former Manchester United youngster Jack Harrison went closest to breaking the deadlock, forcing Joe Willis into a good save with an effort from long range.
The two biggest names on the pitch then combined to create the opener seven minutes into the second half. A short corner routine saw Andrea Pirlo pick out Villa, who made the most of a somewhat loose first touch to burst forward and leave behind a static Dynamo defence before firing into the far corner of the net from a tight angle.
Houston, bottom of the Western Conference, could have mounted an instant reply, Brazilian Alex scooping a shot over the bar after some chaotic defending from the visitors.
Having exchanged a neat one-two with Mauro Manotas, Raul Rodriguez then hit the post with 17 minutes remaining. That was as close as Dynamo came to forcing an equaliser and the away team put the result beyond doubt in injury time. Substitute Tony Taylor advanced down the left flank and crossed for Villa, who fired into the net unmarked from the top of the penalty area.
The wins lift New York City above Red Bulls and Toronto and into first place in the Eastern Conference.