It's halftime and Real Salt Lake finds itself in a hole.
The Claret-and-Cobalt escaped the first leg of their Western Conference semifinal series against Los Angeles with only minimal damage on Sunday night, despite being unable to control the tempo of the match and giving the Galaxy's star-studded lineup more than enough chances to bury the series.
While hardly the ideal position, heading into Thursday's second leg on far friendlier soil trailing by just one goal on aggregate is certainly a manageable position for Salt Lake.
On paper that is.
On the pitch, the Utah side has a lot to prove.
They've been in this, and similar positions, many times in recent years and the results have not been favorable.
In fact some of those times have resulted in the most disheartening and highly-visible failures in franchise history, with the latest of those coming just a few short weeks ago.
Heavily favored against MLS bottom dweller D.C. United and playing at home, Salt Lake dropped a 1-0 setback to United and lost the U.S. Open Cup final.
A year ago in the postseason after earning a scoreless draw against Seattle on the road, Real returned home needing just one goal to win the match and move on. Instead, a late goal by the Sounders ended RSL's season prematurely.
And there are plenty of other examples, including perhaps the most infamous of all, the second leg of the 2010-11 CONCACAF Champions League final, where Salt Lake needed just a goal after securing a 2-2 road draw in Monterrey, Mexico, but was undone -- again -- by an 1-0 count.
The closest approximation to this season's position came during the 2010 MLS Cup playoffs, when second-seeded RSL trailed third-seeded FC Dallas 2-1 after a first-leg setback in Frisco, Texas. Needing just a one-goal home win to force added time or a two-goal win to advance, Real quickly fell behind 1-0 in the second left and settled for a 1-1 draw and was eliminated, while Dallas went on to play in the MLS Cup.
In two-legged series, both in MLS and CONCACAF, in which Salt Lake hosted the decisive second leg, the Utah side has claimed the series just one out of four times.
Now, with the negatives out of the way, it's impossible to say that Real isn't right there in the mix for being able to win this series.
Even just a one-goal win would, at worst, force extra time or penalties, and Salt Lake has proven that it can score this year to the tune of 57 strikes -- the second most in the league behind Shield-winner New York.
"We've got to possess the ball, create some chances and not give the ball away in dangerous spots," RSL goalkeeper Nick Rimando said after Sunday's match. "I think we got very, very lucky not to get scored on a lot more. It could have been a lot worse."
It's not worse, however, and RSL did snag a 3-1 victory against the Galaxy at Rio Tinto earlier this year. And an equal result would send them on.
Real just needs to seize its opportunity.
You can follow Justin Johnson on Twitter at: @jjohnson801 or email him at email@example.com.