WASHINGTON (AP) Dax McCarty scored in the 72nd minute and the New York Red Bulls beat D.C. United 1-0 on Sunday in the first leg of their Eastern Conference semifinal series.
After a foul by United’s Taylor Kemp, Sacha Kljestan’s long free kick found McCarty – who had slipped behind the defense- 3 yards out and McCarty’s header eluded goalkeeper Bill Hamid.
New York’s defense was stifling, limiting United to nine shots, and none on target.
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The Red Bulls’ Mike Grella had a point-blank opportunity inside the 6-yard box in the 33rd minute, but Grella’s shot deflected off Hamid’s face and away safely.
United was awarded a free kick from 24 yards out in the 68th minute after a controversial hard tackle by Ronald Zubar, but Fabian Espindola’s wide service was knocked away easily by Luis Robles.
United center back Bobby Boswell sat out because of a suspension for an incident Wednesday night in a knockout game against New England.
SOUNDERS 2, FC DALLAS 1
SEATTLE (AP) – Clint Dempsey broke a tie on a direct free kick in the 86th minute in Seattle’s comeback victory over FC Dallas in the first leg of their Western Conference semifinal.
Dempsey drove a shot from 25 yards into the upper right side of the net. He also scored Wednesday night in a 3-2 knockout-round victory over the Los Angeles Galaxy.
Andreas Ivanschitz tied it for fourth-seeded Sounders with an unassisted goal in the 67th minute. Fabian Castillo opened the scoring for top-seeded Dallas in the 18th minute.
The second leg of the series is next Sunday in Frisco, Texas. The Sounders would advance to the West final with a win or a tie.
WHITECAPS 0, TIMBERS 0, TIE
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) – David Ousted had six saves and Vancouver held off Portland for a tie first leg of their Western Conference semifinal series Sunday.
Ousted, who led Major League Soccer with 13 shutouts during the regular season, deflected Diego Valeri’s dangerous free kick in the 71st minute to help preserve the tie. The two-legged, aggregate-goal series moves to Vancouver’s BC Place next Sunday.
The Timbers were without starting goal keeper Adam Kwarasey, who sat because of a flu-like illness. He was replaced by Jake Gleeson, who played with the Timbers’ reserve team, the USL’s Timbers 2. Gleeson, who hadn’t played in an MLS match since 2011, had three saves.
IMPACT 2, CREW 1
MONTREAL (AP) – Substitute Johan Venegas broke a tie in the 77th minute to help Montreal beat Columbusin the opening leg of their Eastern Conference semifinal.
Only 4 minutes after Venegas replaced Patrice Bernier, the Costa Rican won a battle for the ball with Michael Parkhurst and went in on a 2-on-1 with Montreal star Didier Drogba. Venegas elected to shoot and picked the far corner for the winner.
Bernier also scored for Montreal, coming off a 3-0 home victory over Toronto FC in a knockout game Thursday night. Federico Higuain opened the scoring for the Crew in the 33rd minute. Bernier tied it in the 37th on a header off Marco Donadel’s corner kick.