Amine Bassi struck a 79th-minute winner as the Houston Dynamo beat Real Salt Lake 2-1 in their MLS playoffs first-round match on Sunday.

French-born midfielder Bassi pounced on a loose ball in the box and slotted home after Griffin Dorsey's low effort had been pushed out by Zac MacMath.

The first round of MLS's playoffs feature a best-of-three series of games and the pair will face off again in game two on November 6.

Houston, the fourth seed in the Western Conference, dominated fifth-seeded RSL from the outset, pinning their opponent back in the opening stages.

The Dynamo grabbed the lead in the 22nd minute through Mexico international Hector Herrera, who collected a cushioned header from Adelberto Carrasquilla and fired home from the edge of the box.

The goal forced RSL into a more positive approach and Costa Rican wing-back Bryan Oviedo went close with a shot that was cleared off the line by Houston's Brazilian defender Micael.

Diego Luna curled a shot wide for the visitors just before the break and that was a sign of things to come from Salt Lake.

It was a superb counter-attack 10 minutes after the interval that brought RSL level, with Andres Gomez driving from deep in his own half before squaring to Luca, who fired home.

But Houston responded strongly and former Nancy midfielder Bassi's decisive strike gave the Dynamo the series advantage.

Later on Sunday, Eastern Conference top seed Cincinnati host New York Red Bulls and expansion club St. Louis City look to build on their first-place finish in the West in a derby clash with Sporting Kansas City.