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October 30, 2016
Underdogs rule in conference semis

MONTREAL--The Montreal Impact seized the early advantage in their Eastern Conference semifinal series with a 1-0 win over the top-seeded New York Red Bulls Sunday at Stade Saputo.

Matteo Mancosu sealed the win in the 61st minute with a booming 16-yard volley into the upper right corner past goalkeeper Luis Robles. Marco Donadel set the play in motion with a long ball over the red Bulls defense. Mancosu charged into the box with a half-step on defender Aurelien Collin and right-footed the ball on the bounce in full stride.

Golden Boot winner Bradley Wright-Phillips had a golden chance to level the score -- and extend the Red Bulls' 19-game unbeaten streak -- deep in stoppage time, off the rebound after netminder Evan Bush blocked Omar Damari's shot. But the usually sure-footed striker sent the shot wide of the goal from just off the right post. Seconds later Damari was sent off for a studs-up challenge on Callum Mallace, and will be suspended for the series finale at Red Bull Arena.

Bush finished with three saves, including a clutch stop on Sacha Kljestan's six-yarder in the 67th minute.
Full story from Big Apple Soccer

CARSON, Calif.--Gio dos Santos bounced home a header in the 55th minute to give the LA Galaxy a 1-0 Western Conference semifinal win over the second-seeded Colorado Rapids Sunday at the StubHub Center.

The aggregate-goals series concludes November 6 at Dick's Sporting Goods Park, where the Rapids went undefeated in the regular season (11-0-6).

Buoyed by clutch defending and a strong performance from goalkeeper Tim Howard, the Rapids weathered an early flurry of pressure from the Galaxy. The pace had slowed somewhat by the time dos Santos broke the ice, with help from Jelle van Damme. Van Damme beat defender Michael Azira near the left endline, then cut the ball back to dos Santos, whose header from near the penalty spot was deflected on its way into the Rapids' net.

TORONTO--Toronto FC came up with a pair of late goals to take the first leg of their Eastern Conference semifinal series against New York City FC 2-0 Sunday at BMO Field.

Jozy Altidore snapped the scoreless tie in the 84th minute, and Tosaint Ricketts doubled the Reds' advantage in the second minute of stoppage time. Second-seeded NYC hosts the return leg next Sunday (November 6) at Yankee Stadium.

NYC coach Patrick Viera raised a few eyebrows with his decision to bench starting goalkeeper Josh Saunders in favor of Norwegian Eirik Johansen, who had only one other MLS start to his credit. Johanssen was tested early and responded well, beginning by turning away a point-blank shot by Sebastian Giovinco in the seventh minute. But he had no chance to stop Altidore's 84th-minute blast. Ricketts whiffed on a shot from the top of the six-yard box but managed to tap the ball right, to Altidore, who roofed the shot from close range.

Ricketts found his touch in the second minute of stoppage time, poking his own rebound into the net after Johansen saved his initial attempt.

Toronto netminder Clint Irwin finished with three saves, including an 81st-minute tip that sent R.J. Allen's shot glancing off the crossbar seconds after TFC defender Eriq Zavaleta swept Jack Harrison's attempt out of the goalmouth.
Full story from Big Apple Soccer

SEATTLE--Supporters' Shield winning FC Dallas's MLS Cup hopes are on life support after Sunday's 3-0 loss to fourth-seeded Seattle Sounders FC Sunday at CenturyLink Field.

The Sounders reeled off three goals in eight minutes to put the game away. Nelson Valdez, hero of the Sounders' 1-0 midweek knockout round victory over Sporting Kansas City, started the barrage in the 50th minute, darting into the six-yard box ahead of Maynor Figueroa to get his head on Joevin Jones' cross in from the left side.

Nicolas Lodeiro followed with goals in the 55th and 58th. Lodeiro victimized Figueroa once again for his first strike, redirecting Jordan Morris' left-side cross from almost the same spot Valdez scored from. Three minutes later, he took a pass from Jones and charged into the left side of the penalty area before slotting a low shot past 'keeper Chris Seitz.

FCD tried desperately to close the gap, and two of netminder Stefan Frei's three saves came after Lodeiro's second goal. Frei turned away Maxi Urruti's short-range header in the 65th minute, and saved a long left-footer from Michael Barrios in the 80th to preserve the shutout.

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