D.C. United goalkeeper Bill Hamid (28) makes a save with his head after a shot by New York Red Bulls forward Mike Grella (13) during the first half of an MLS playoff soccer match, at RFK Stadium, Sunday, Nov. 1, 2015, in Washington
Associated Press / Alex Brandon

WASHINGTON (AP) _ New York’s Dax McCarty scored in the 72nd minute to give the Red Bulls a 1-0 win at D.C. United on Sunday in the first leg of their Major League Soccer Eastern Conference semifinal series.

The away win puts the Red Bulls in the best position of all teams to advance of the last four of the playoffs.

Seattle and Montreal both recorded 2-1 wins at home, against Dallas and Columbus respectively, while Portland was held to a scoreless draw at home by regional rival Vancouver.

New York’s goal came after a foul by United’s Taylor Kemp, Sacha Kljestan’s long free kick found McCarty — who had slipped behind the defense — three yards out and the header eluded goalkeeper Bill Hamid.

New York’s defense was stifling, preventing the Washington club having any shots on target.

Seattle’s Clint Dempsey scored from a direct free kick in the 86th minute to give the Sounders a come-from-behind 2-1 win against Dallas in the first leg of their tie.

Dempsey drove a shot from 25 yards into the upper right corner of the net. He also scored Wednesday 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 and Andreas Ivanschitz equalized for the hosts in the 67th.

Montreal substitute Johan Venegas scored the winner in the 77th minute as the Impact got the home win it needed against Columbus.

Venegas scored only four minutes after coming on. 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 and Patrice Bernier equalized for the Impact in the 37th with a header off Marco Donadel’s corner.

Vancouver goalkeeper David Ousted made some key saves as the Whitecaps held host Portland scoreless.

Ousted, who led MLS with 13 clean sheets during the regular season, deflected Diego Valeri’s dangerous free kick in the 71st minute to help keep the game scoreless.

The Timbers were without starting goal keeper Adam Kwarasey due to illness. Jake Gleeson, making his first MLS appearance since 2011, also kept a clean sheet.

D.C. United forward Conor Doyle, back, and New York Red Bulls forward Bradley Wright-Phillips try to head the ball during the second half of an MLS playoff soccer match, at RFK Stadium, Sunday, Nov. 1, 2015, in Washington. New York won 1-0.
Associated Press / Alex Brandon

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