Sounders FC

Avila, FC Dallas get jump on Salt Lake

Eric Avila scored in the 88th minute and FC Dallas beat defending MLS Cup champion Real Salt Lake, 2-1, Saturday in the first leg of the Western Conference semifinals.

Playing iin Frisco, Texas, Avila took a pass from David Ferreira and dribbled past two Salt Lake defenders before converting from 15 yards away, into the left corner of the net. Avila was a late substitute for Jair Benitez, entering the game in the 87th minute.

Real Salt Lake had its unbeaten streak snapped at 14 games and is 0-9-0 all-time at Pizza Hut Park. The second part of the two-game aggregate-goal series is next Saturday at Salt Lake.

Fabian Espindola got Real Salt Lake off to a nice start. He fired a left-footed shot from inside the top of the penalty box into the left corner of the net, making it 1-0 in the fifth minute.

FC Dallas responded in the 44th minute when Jeff Cunningham took control of a ball that deflected off Real Salt Lake defender Jamison Olave at the top of the goalie’s box and fired a left-footed shot into the left corner of the net.

Red Bulls 1, at Earthquakes 0: Joel Lindpere scored in the 55th minute and New York beat San Jose in Game 1 of the two-game Eastern Conference semifinal.

Lindpere scored after the Earthquakes were unable to clear a cross from Juan Pablo Angel. The ball fell to the feet of Lindpere, who carefully placed a low shot to the far post and beat goalkeeper Jon Busch.

San Jose nearly tied in the 83rd minute when Chris Wondolowski banged a volley off the ground.