Defining Moment No. 1: "The Champs Are Here"

FCDallas.com counts down the top five defining moments of the 2010 season

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Photo Credit: 
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Its been a memorable season of unbeaten runs and records for FC Dallas in 2010.  After a remarkable regular-season campaign that has the club in the post-season for the first time since 2007, FCDallas.com has decided to take a look back at five moments that defined FCD in 2010.  We’ll be revealing one every other day leading up to FC Dallas’ Nov. 6 game at Rio Tinto Stadium against Real Salt Lake.

READ: #5 – “REFUSE TO LOSE”

READ: #4 – “RUNNING OF THE BULLS”

READ: #3 – “CANNON FODDER”

READ: #2 – “MVP MATERIAL”

#1 – "THE CHAMPS ARE HERE"
July 17, 2010 at Pizza Hut Park
FC Dallas 2, Real Salt Lake 0

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In what would end up being the first of four matches between FC Dallas and Real Salt Lake in 2010, two of the hottest teams in Major League Soccer faced off on a hot North Texas night.  RSL came into the match on a 10-game unbeaten streak, while Dallas’ own unbeaten streak had reached five games at the time.  Salt Lake goalkeeper Nick Rimando also entered the match on an impressive streak of his own, having not allowed a goal in his last 497 minutes of play.

The 101 degree temperature at the start of the match encouraged the defending champions to change their formation from their usual 4-4-2 to a more conservative 4-5-1 in hopes of preserving energy.  Schellas Hyndman’s club would exploit RSL’s unfamiliarity with their out-of-character formation and spend the majority of the match on the attack.

This match was also the MLS debut of FCD’s newest striker, Milton Rodriguez, and the Colombian forward would prove to be a valuable signing in his first outing.  Within the first 10 minutes Rodriguez rang a header off the crossbar from a David Ferreira corner kick.  Then, in the 69th minute, Rodriguez sent a strike in on Rimando that was saved, but not held.  The ensuing rebound was buried by Brek Shea for the first goal of the match, snapping Rimando’s shutout streak at 566 minutes.

Dallas would get a second goal just eight minutes later from Atiba Harris to halt RSL’s unbeaten streak with a 2-0 score.  Not only did the match end Salt Lake’s unbeaten streak, but it also extended FC Dallas’ to six games.

The loss was Real Salt Lake’s first in their last 12 matches, and the defending champs would not lose again until they returned to Pizza Hut Park for their first match of the MLS Cup 2010 Playoffs on October 30, 2010. But beyond the regular season three points at stake, this match proved FC Dallas to be a legitimate title contender. It also gave Dallas the confidence it needed when the champs returned to PHP for the first leg of their Western Conference Semifinal series.

Will that confidence carry over to Rio Tinto Stadium for the final leg? Can FC Dallas knock off the defending MLS Cup champions?

We'll find out tonight.

WATCH: FC Dallas 2, Real Salt Lake 0

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