The New York Red Bulls took what their fans hope is the first step towards Toronto and the MLS Cup beating the San Jose Earthquakes 1-0 in the first match of Major League Soccer’s home-and-away Eastern Conference semifinal.
Estonian midfielder Joel Lindpere goal in the 55th minute was the difference between the two sides. San Jose failed 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 equalized it the 83rd minute when leading scorer Chris Wondolowski volley came back to Eduardo, but his shot hit the post. The return leg is Thursday night at Red Bull Arena.
In Texas, FC Dallas pulled up a mild upset by beating the defending MLS Cup champions Real Salt Lake 2-1 in the opening match of the Western Conference In semifinal. Fabian Espindola had opened the scoring for Salt Lake in the fifth minute, but Jeff Cunningham tied it in the 44th minute and Eric Avila goal in the 88th minute gave FC Dallas the valuable win and ended Real Salt Lake’s unbeaten streak at 14 games. The return leg is next Saturday at Sandy, Utah.