A Giovani dos Santos goal provided the LA Galaxy with a slim advantage over the Colorado Rapids in their Western Conference semifinal with a 1-0 win on Sunday.
Dos Santos scored with a 55th-minute header that took a big deflection to give the Galaxy the lead ahead of next week's second leg in Colorado.
The Galaxy controlled nearly all of the action in the first half but were frustrated by Tim Howard.
The Rapids keeper denied Alan Gordon's header on the goal line -- though the play was ruled out for a push in the buildup -- and then did well to cut out LA's crosses before halting a shot from Sebastian Lletget.
But Howard could do little to prevent LA's goal 10 minutes into the second half.
Jelle van Damme got forward to fire in a shot from distance that was blocked in front. The Galaxy defender then tracked down the ball on the edge of the box, outrageously nutmegged Michael Azira and fired a cross in to Dos Santos.
The Mexico international's header looped over Howard after coming off the head of defender Axel Sjoberg, though it appeared to be destined for the goal anyway.
The Rapids gained more possession as they sought an equalizer, but there were few true chances aside from Jermaine Jones' 73rd-minute off-target blast from 20 yards.