Fabio celebrates his opening-minute goal. (Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports)

A draw was just as good as win for the Red Bulls Sunday.

The Red Bulls clinched a spot in the MLS Cup Playoffs by the skin of their teeth, registering a 1-1 draw with Nashville SC at Nissan Stadium in Nashville, Tenn.

New York qualified for an MLS-record 12th consecutive time.

The deadlock, coupled with several other results in the MLS Eastern Conference, left the Red Bulls (13-12-9, 48 points) in seventh place, the final postseason spot.

Nashville (12-4-18, 54), which has been the king of the draw this season, finished in third place.

“We did it and I think the feeling right now the feeling the mood in the dressing room is on an outstanding level,” Red Bulls head coach Gerard Struber said. “I hope you understand me that I will not go so much deep in analyzes in this game; 100 percent we deserve this point we have.”

The Red Bulls were given up for dead before they turned around the season by going 7-1-4 in their final 12 games to reach the postseason.

“We were extremely young, green coming into the season,” team captain Sean Davis said. “I just think that we experienced so much together, more than any other team that I played for. We had fresh faces, a lot of turnover from last year and it took some time for us to hit our stride.

“I think it’s healthy for the group and brought us together in ways that I don’t think could have been done without those, obstacles and without that adversity. That’s how we were able to put such a good run together at the end of the year. We’re hoping that that’s the momentum we need heading into the playoffs. I think that we’re in a really good place defensively.”

Only 35 seconds after the opening kickoff, the Red Bulls drew first blood. Caden Clark sent Cristian Casseres, Jr. down the right side before he booted cross that Fabio, off a neat first touch, took control of. Fabio then turned and drilled a shot past goalkeeper Joe Willis.

“I was a little bit surprised,” Struber said.

“It was an important goal,” Casseres said. “It gave us a lot of confidence early on. It was an important goal because it [led] ticket to the playoffs. That’s something that we really wanted.”

Nashville knotted things up at 1-1 in the 37th minute when Hany Mukhtar sent a perfectly placed free kick from a difficult angle on the left side into the upper left near post and past keeper Carlos Coronel.

New York had two other shots on target in the first half, but Willis turned away Tom Edwards’ hard shot in the 34th minute. Ten minutes later, he denied Casseres with a diving save to his right.

Mukhtar almost put the hosts into the lead in the 63rd minute, but his header from inside the box sailed wide right.

Alex Muyl tried to make his former teammates miserable in the 66th minute with a shot from outside the box that Coronel easily handled. Less than a minute later, Mukhtar fired a shot off Coronel’s body that kept the score at 1-1.

Second-half substitute Omir Fernandez almost gave the Red Bulls the lead and a definite playoff clincher as he rifled a shot off the left post in the 88th minute.