MLS Review: Atlanta edge New York City, Timbers hold off Sounders

Atlanta United and Portland Timbers registered victories over New York City and Seattle Sounders respectively in the MLS play-offs.

Eric Remedi scored the first goal of his career as Atlanta United edged past New York City 1-0 in the first leg of their Eastern Conference semi-final.

In a bruising affair, Argentinian Remedi's solitary goal eight minutes before half-time proved decisive and puts the Five Stripes in pole position ahead of the second leg at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Sunday.

NYCFC goalkeeper Sean Johnson had kept out Josef Martinez's powerful volley from a corner but was unable to do anything about Remedi scrambling home the rebound from close range.

In the other Eastern Conference semi-final, Columbus Crew followed up their penalty shoot-out win over DC United with a 1-0 victory over New York Red Bulls.

Federico Higuain – who scored twice against DC United – teed up Gyasi Zardes with a deft backheel after 61 minutes, the former LA Galaxy man slotting past Luis Robles.

In the Western Conference semi-finals, Portland Timbers saw off Seattle Sounders 2-1, while Real Salt Lake and Sporting Kansas City played out a 1-1 draw.

In Portland, Raul Ruidiaz had given the Sounders an early lead, but the Timbers bounced back with goals from Jeremy Ebobisse and Sebastian Blanco within the space of 12 minutes.

At the Rio Tinto Stadium, Diego Rubio cancelled out Albert Rusnak's opener as Sporting KC secured an important away draw before the return leg on Sunday.