NCAA

MLS Playoff Capsules

MLS Playoff Capsules

HARRISON, N.J. (AP) Nick DeLeon scored in the 88th minute and D.C. United advanced to the Eastern Conference final with a 1-0 victory over the New York Red Bulls on Thursday night.

United advanced 2-1 on aggregate after playing New York to a 1-1 draw Saturday and faces the Houston Dynamo in the conference final.

In a game that was postponed a day after a Nor'easter blanketed the field with snow Wednesday night, the Red Bulls appeared poised to take the lead in the 69th minute when they were awarded a penalty kick as D.C. United goalie Bill Hamid was given a red card.

In a wild series of events, the Red Bulls scored a goal that was taken back before D.C. backup keeper Joe Willis made a crucial save on the second attempt. Kenny Cooper put his initial penalty kick past Willis, but the goal was called off by the referee because the Red Bulls had entered the penalty area early.

Willis, apparently warmed up after the first attempt, dove to his left on Cooper's second penalty kick attempt and made the save. Cooper took a little hop before the shot, but decided to go to his right and was thwarted by Willis. His first kick had beaten Willis to the other side.

Robbie Russell's through ball sent DeLeon in on goal alone and he put his chance past Red Bulls keeper Luis Robles, who was hardly tested all game.

SOUNDERS 1, REAL SALT LAKE 0

SANDY, Utah (AP) - Mario Martinez ended a season-long scoring drought for the Sounders against Real Salt Lake when he found the net in the 81st minute, helping Seattle advance to the Western Conference finals after the teams played to a scoreless tie in the first leg of their series.

The third-seeded Sounders scored for the first time in five games against Real Salt Lake this season, including the semifinal opener last Friday in Seattle. With a 1-0 aggregate victory, the Sounders earned a trip to the conference finals against the Los Angeles Galaxy. The Galaxy defeated the San Jose Earthquakes.

Fredy Montero set the scoring play in motion when he swung a cross out to Martinez on the left side of the box. The pass drew Salt Lake goalkeeper Nick Rimando toward the left post. Martinez fired at the opposite post and buried the ball in the right corner.

Second-seeded Salt Lake became the third higher seed to be knocked out of the MLS Cup Playoffs. The Sounders had been winless in three games against RSL during the regular season after failing to score in any of them.

Cavaliers clamp down on Pitt

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Cavaliers clamp down on Pitt

PITTSBURGH -- No. 1 Virginia allowed just seven points in the first half and secured the regular-season Atlantic Coast Conference title outright with a 66-37 win over Pittsburgh on Saturday.

Freshman guard De'Andre Hunter came off the bench to lead the Cavaliers (26-2, 14-1 ACC) with 14 points in a game that didn't take big offensive efforts from Virginia's regulars. Of the five starters, only guard Ty Jerome exceeded his season average with 13 points.

The game was never competitive, as Virginia started on an 8-0 run and Pitt didn't make a field goal until Jared Wilson-Frame hit a 3-pointer at the midway point of the first half.

Virginia coach Tony Bennett rested most of his regulars in the second half. Reserve Nigel Johnson added 12 points on 4-of-6 shooting.

Parker Stewart led Pitt (8-22, 0-17) with 12 points, all on 3-pointers. Pitt had next to no presence inside. The Panthers were outscored 28-8 in the paint and out-rebounded 36-24. Seven of Pitt's 11 made field goals were from beyond the arc.

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3 reasons the Caps beat the Sabres

3 reasons the Caps beat the Sabres

The Caps could not shake Buffalo for two periods, but a dominant finish on Saturday helped them pull away for a 5-1 win. Here's how they finally put away the Sabres.

A quick start

Strong starts go a long way towards helping a team in the middle of a slump. It's a confidence boost for a group in desperate need of one and the Caps got that boost on Saturday from Evgeny Kuznetsov. Kuznetsov used his wheels to zip in behind the defense and score just 50 seconds into the game. Washington led 1-0 at the end of the first, just the second time in 19 games they have held a lead after the opening 20 minutes.

RELATED: SEE THE 3 STARS FROM CAPS-SABRES HERE

Andre Burakovsky snapping a second period slump

It looked in the second period like the Caps were caught trying to protect the lead again, but Andre Burakovsky woke the team back up with his incredible highlight end-to-end goal. It really looked like Buffalo was going to tie the game at one, but instead, Burakovsky extended the lead to two. Going end to end the way he did shows a player who is starting to play with some confidence, something Burakovsky has lacked for much of the season.

Ovechkin's two-goal third period

Buffalo would not go away. Sam Reinhart got the Sabres on the board just 14 seconds into the third period and suddenly the Caps found themselves in a one-goal game again. But Ovechkin ended any hopes for the comeback as he struck in the top corner of the net on the power play from the office. He would later add a deflection goal to extend the lead to 5-1, giving a scuffling Washington team the dominant win they so sorely needed.