SAN SALVADOR - A second-half goal by Jackson Goncalves and goalkeeping from Kevin Hartman helped FC Dallas to a 1-0 win against Alianza in the opening leg of a Preliminary Round series in both teams' CONCACAF Champions League debut Thursday night
The American squad will have the advantage as the series shifts to Frisco, Texas, for the second leg Wednesday night at Pizza Hut Park.
Goncalves broke the stalemate in the 70th minute as the Brazilian took a touch around Alianza defender Marcelo Messias and slotted it past Yimy Cuellar from 16 meters.
In a game played in a near constant rain - which was heavy at times, Hartman was tested almost immediately, diving to his left to save a short header by Jonathan Barrios off a corner kick in the third minute.
Four minutes later, Hartman made another save and Rene Alvarado put the low rebound wide onto the outside netting.
After absorbing an early onslaught by the host, FC Dallas had an opportunity to go ahead in the 12th minute, but Zach Loyd's header off a corner kick from eight meters skimmed off the crossbar.
In the 32nd minute, Rudis Corrales got in behind the FC Dallas defense, but Hartman again came up big with save off his line. However, the keeper nearly gave Alianza a goal four minutes later when his poor clearance was intercepted by Elman Rivas, whose 40-meter lob bounced just wide of the near post.
Alianza started the second half the way it started the first, putting pressure on the American visitors. But Christian Castillo's free kick from 30 meters bounced off the FC Dallas wall in the 50th minute.
The Major League Soccer squad had its own quality set piece chance in the 59th minute, but Jair Benitez fired his attempt off the Alianza wall.
Following Goncalves' goal, the Salvadorans pushed for the equalizer and many at Estadio Cuscatlan thought it was coming in the 82nd minute when Alianza beat the FC Dallas offside trap. But defender Ugo Ihemelu raced back and made a saving tackle in the box, pushing the ball out for a corner.
Hartman punched the ensuing corner, one of nine for the host, away and wasn't challenged by a last-second free kick by Herbert Sosa to keep Alianza at bay and ensure the MLS Cup finalist would return home with a one-goal advantage in the aggregate series.
The winner advances to the Group Stage to join Pumas UNAM from Mexico, Panama's Tauro and either Toronto FC from Canada or Nicaragua's Real Esteli. Toronto won its home leg 2-1 Wednesday night.