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October 27, 2016
Impact, Sounders round out semifinal field

WASHINGTON, DC--If the Montreal Impact missed disgruntled star forward Didier Drogba during Thursday's Eastern Conference knockout round match against DC United at RFK Stadium, they didn't show it. Laurent Ciman scored in the fourth minute and the Impact ran up a 4-0 lead on their way to a 4-2 win that set them up for a two-game semifinal against top seeds the New York Red Bulls starting Sunday at Stade Saputo.

Matteo Mancosu paced the Impact with two goals and an assist on Ignacio Piatti's capper.

Montreal were on the front foot from the opening whistle, with Piatti picking off a bad pass and getting a shot through to 'keeper Bill Hamid just 17 seconds into the match. Ciman opened the scoring off Marco Donadel's right-side corner kick, getting position on defender Jared Jeffrey and sweeping the ball into the net with his right foot.

Mancosu made the score 2-0 in the 43rd minute, darting into the six-yard box to get on the end of a pass that Piatti threaded through three defenders on its way across the box.

In the 58th, Mancosu got past DC's Steve Birnbaum to nod Ambroise Oyongo's pass into the net, and in the 83rd minute he was the pivot man on a give-and-go that set up Piatti to make the score 4-0 from close range.

DC did not put a shot on goal until the second half, but salvaged a little pride with goals by Lamar Neagle in the 90th minute and Taylor Kemp in the fourth minute of stoppage time. Neagle slotted a header into the upper left corner off Nyarko's right-side service, and Kemp slammed home a 20-yarder that curled away from goalkeeper Evan Bush into the left side of the net.

SEATTLE--Goalkeeper Stefan Frei kept punchless Seattle Sounders FC alive into the 88th minute of Thursday night's Western Conference knockout round match at CenturyLink Field, and substitute Nelson Valdez snuck home a header to snatch a 1-0 win over Sporting Kansas City and a berth in the semifinals against Supporters' Shield winners FC Dallas.

Seattle, who entered the postseason seeded fourth in the conference, will host the first game of the aggregate-goal semifinal series on Sunday.

Valdez used his head to redirect Joevin Jones' shot past 'keeper Tim Melia and into the net. It was Seattle's only shot on goal of the match.

The goal gutted Sporting, who peppered the Sounders' net with seven goals, only to be thwarted by Frei's highlight reel performance. The Sounders netminder made his first save in the eighth minute, turning away Benny Feilhaber's long blast, then turned away a sharp shot by Paulo Nagamura and got some help from the post on Graham Zusi's follow-up in the next minute. In the 33rd, he dove to one-hand Kevin Ellis's attempt out of the lower right corner. Frei made another highlight-reel stop in the 62nd minute, on Seth Sinovic's sharp 20-yard riser, nine minutes after Matt Besler appeared to put KC on the board, but was ruled offside.

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