Print and Go Back ESPN.com: Los Angeles Soccer [Print without images]

Sunday, October 31, 2010
MLS PLAYOFFS: Seeing red in Frisco

By Scott French

A look at Saturday's MLS postseason action:

IN BRIEF: Two harsh red cards -- one to Real Salt Lake playmaker extraordinaire Javier Morales -- mar FC Dallas' 2-1 comeback triumph captured on former UC Santa Barbara standout Eric Avila's late strike. … New York heads home with a 1-0 advantage after Joel Lindpere lifts the Red Bulls at San Jose.

BEST PLAYER: Lindpere might not get the press that DPs Thierry Henry, Rafa Marquez and Juan Pablo Angel attract, but the Estonian midfielder clearly is the Red Bulls' MVP this year -- and he tormented the Earthquakes in New York's win. He had the lone goal, a superbly placed shot from a tight angle past a diving Jon Busch and inside the right post from a poorly headed clearance, and would've had another had Jason Hernandez not been stationed on the goal line.

BEST GOAL: Two candidates from FC Dallas' victory. Hard to beat Fabian Espindola's blast, from Andy Williams' ball from the midfield stripe, into the upper-left corner to give RSL a fifth-minute lead. But beat it Avila's bender into the left-side netting did. The 88th-minute winner, less than a minute after he came on for Jair Benitez, was a splendid finish to an invigorating clash.

BIGGEST STOP: Too many to choose from among RSL goalkeeper Nick Rimando's fine collection: The Hoops win this one going away if not for the Montclair High School/UCLA grad's repeated saves. If we  have to choose one, how about the leaping parry of Marvin Chavez's curling shot in the 68th that was destined for the upper-left corner.

WORTH NOTING: Goalkeeper Kevin Hartman (Palos Verdes/Peninsula HS and UCLA) returned to FC Dallas' lineup for the first time since he suffered a sprained medial collateral ligament in his right knee thanks to Henry's folly -- booting the ball in “celebration” after a Red Bulls goal -- in mid-September.

QUOTE OF THE DAY: “We knew it was going to be difficult coming in. We got exactly what we expected.” -- Real Salt Lake coach Jason Kreis.

THE RESULTS
at Frisco, Texas
FC Dallas 2 (Cunningham 44, Avila 88), Real Salt Lake 1 (Espindola 5)
Second leg: Saturday at Sandy, Utah, 7 p.m., Fox Soccer Channel and Fox Deportes

at Santa Clara, Calif.
San Jose 0, New York 1 (Lindpere 56)
Second leg: Thursday at Harrison, N.J., 5 p.m., ESPN2 and ESPN Deportes

Sunday's first leg
L.A. Galaxy at Seattle, 5 p.m., ESPN2 and ESPN Deportes

All times Pacific