AUSTIN, Texas (AP)Brad Stuver stopped two tries in penalty time, a third one sailed high over the crossbar, and Austin advanced past Real Salt Lake 3-1 on penalties after a 2-2 draw in the MLS Cup Playoffs on Sunday.
Austin, the second seed in the Western Conference, was victorious in its first playoff appearance and advanced to face either No. 3 Dallas or No. 6 Minnesota in the conference semifinals. Dallas and Minnesota play on Monday.
Austin rallied from an early 2-0 deficit, tying the score on a pair of goals by Sebastian Driussi, who also scored in the penalties. Diego Fagundez and Emiliano Rigoni also scored as Austin went 3-for-3 against RSL’s Zac MacMath.
RSL took an early 2-0 lead when Sergio Cordova scored in the third minute and added a penalty kick in the 15th. Driussi, who scored 22 goals in the regular season, answered in the 31st minute and RSL went on to lead 2-1 at intermission.
Early in the second half, Salt Lake’s Rubio Rubin drew the first red card of his career and RSL played a man short for 67 minutes. The man advantage led to a 38-11 advantage in shots for Austin, with 11 shots on goal to 4. MacMath made 9 saves. While RSL was down a man, MacMath only allowed Druissi’s game-tying penalty kick in the 94th minute.
Austin advances in the playoffs for the first time despite a late-season slump that resulted in only 4 wins in the final 16 matches and 1 win in the last 7 – a 3-0 victory over Real Salt Lake.
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