RSL Drops One in Dallas, Pressure's On for Second Leg on Nov 6

In their eight-year history, MLS champions Real Salt Lake haven't been able to put together a road win against FC Dallas. FC Dallas' 2-1 victory on an 88th-minute goal by Erik Avila Saturday night Oct. 30 assured the streak would continue through the first leg of the two teams' home-and-home MLS playoff series. RSL will defend its title in the second leg of the series Saturday, Nov. 6 at Rio Tinto Stadium, where the home team hasn't been beaten in 25 games.

RSL went ahead early with a goal by Fabian Espindola in the fifth minute, but FC Dallas scored just before halftime and gained offensive momentum throughout the second half, with the game-winning goal coming just before the end of regulation.

Both teams had players ejected for receiving red cards, and Saturday RSL will be without the services of star midfielder Javier Morales for the first time ever in postseason play. Morales is suspended for one game because of the red card.

The series is decided by aggregate goals, so only a win Saturday will allow RSL to advance in the playoffs. If RSL and FC Dallas are tied overall at the end of the second game, there will be an immediate 30-minute mini-game to decide the winner. If the series is still tied at that point, the winner will be decided by penalty kicks. The series winner will face either LA Galaxy or the Seattle Sounders in the MLS Western Conference final.

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Photo: Defender Jair Benitez of FC Dallas scrambles for the ball against forward Fabian Espindola of Real Salt Lake at Pizza Hut Park on October 30, 2010 in Frisco, Texas. By Tom Pennington, Getty Images.