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Sounders, United move on to the MLS conference finals

Seattle eliminates Real Salt Lake to advance in West to play the Galaxy while D.C. United knocks off the Red Bulls in East to set up a meeting with the Dynamo.

November 08, 2012|Wire reports

Mario Martinez ended a season-long scoring drought for the Seattle Sounders against Real Salt Lake when he found the net in the 81st minute, helping Seattle advance to the Western Conference final with a 1-0 victory Thursday night at Sandy, Utah, 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 opener of this semifinal Nov. 2 at Seattle. With a 1-0 aggregate victory, the Sounders earned a trip to the conference final against the Galaxy. The Galaxy defeated the San Jose Earthquakes.

Second-seeded Salt Lake became the third higher-seeded team to be knocked out of the MLS Cup playoffs.

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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 at Harrison, N.J.

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

ETC.

Izturis, Blue Jays agree on deal

Infielder Maicer Izturis became the first major league free agent this off-season to join a new team, agreeing to a $10-million, three-year contract with the Toronto Blue Jays.

Toronto said the deal was for $3 million annually. The team has a $3-million option for 2016 with a $1-million buyout.

The 32-year-old batted .256 with 17 steals in 19 tries, two home runs and 20 runs batted in this year for the Angels. After reaching the big leagues with the Montreal Expos in 2004, Izturis spent eight seasons with the Angels.

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On an indoor court, Roger Federer can win even when he's not playing his best.

He proved that again in the ATP finals at London, beating David Ferrer, 6-4, 7-6 (5), and advancing to the semifinals with a group match to spare despite struggling to land his serve and scrambling to stay in the long rallies.

The two-time defending champion is looking for his seventh title in the season-ending event for the top eight players in the world. He is 2-0 at the O2 Arena, with his last group match against Argentina's Juan Martin del Potro on Saturday.

Del Potro beat Janko Tipsarevic, 6-0, 6-4, in the other Group B match, improving his record to 1-1 and eliminating the Serb with two losses.

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Charlie Wi took the 18-hole lead for the third time this year — and the eighth time in his PGA Tour career — by closing with consecutive birdies for an eight-under-par 64 on the easier Palm Course at Disney. That gave him a one-shot lead over Camilo Villegas and Tommy Gainey in the Children's Miracle Network Classic at Lake Buena Vista, Fla.

This is the 184th career start for Wi on the PGA Tour, and he's still looking for his first win.

The top 12 scores came from the Palm, which played about 1.7 shots easier than the Magnolia, where the final two rounds will be played. Henrik Stenson and Charles Howell III were among five players whose 68 was the best score at Magnolia.

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Michelle Wie shot a six-under 66 for a share of the first-round lead in the Lorena Ochoa Invitational at Guadalajara with Angela Stanford and Candie Kung.

Wie, who won the 2009 tournament for the first of her two LPGA Tour victories, got into the 36-player field this year on a sponsor invitation after failing to qualify.

Second-ranked Stacy Lewis, coming off her tour-leading fourth victory of the season Sunday in Japan, was a stroke back along with Inbee Park, Cristie Kerr, So Yeon Ryu and Karine Icher.

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Denmark's Thomas Bjorn shot a five-under 66 to take a one-stroke lead in the suspended first round of the Singapore Open.

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