Second-year franchise Austin rallied from two goals down before goalkeeper Brad Stuver's penalty shoot-out heroics sent them into the MLS Western Conference Semifinals with victory over 10-man Real Salt Lake on Sunday.
Austin triumphed 3-1 on penalties after a thrilling 2-2 draw where Sebastian Driussi's 94th-minute spotkick sent the game into extra-time at Q2 Stadium.
Stuver stepped up in the shoot-out, saving efforts from Andrew Brody and Braian Ojeda, before Tate Schmitt skied his effort well over the crossbar to end RSL's campaign.
The game turned completely when Rubio Rubin was sent off in the 52nd minute for a second bookable offence with a late sliding challenge on Stuver. Austin, down 2-1 at the time, dominated with 25-3 shots from that point.
Los Verdes, making their first playoffs appearance after finishing 12th in the Western Conference in their debut season, were down 2-0 inside 15 minutes after Sergio Cordova's early brace.
Qué emoción! pic.twitter.com/0ffBtLbH0R
— x – Austin FC (@AustinFC) October 16, 2022
Cordova glanced in Brody's right-wing cross for the opener after three minutes. The Venezuelan sent Stuver the wrong way from the spot on the quarter hour after a Jhojan Valencia handball to make it 2-0.
Argentine forward Driussi, who was a big-money signing from Zenit last year, pulled one back with a 31st-minute header from Diego Fagundez's cross.
Rubin saw red early in the second half and Austin subsequently barraged the RSL goal, finally getting their equalizer when Scott Caldwell handballed, with Driussi converting the lifeline
RSL goalkeeper Zac MacMath did his best to withstand the barrage, blocking Zan Kolmanic's long-range effort in extra-time, before Stuver stepped up decisively in the shoot-out.
Montreal claimed their maiden MLS Cup playoffs victory since 2016 as they advanced past Orlando City 2-0, booking an Eastern Conference Semifinals date against either New York City or Inter Miami.
Djordje Mihailovic set up Ismael Kane's 68th-minute opener before converting a stoppage-time penalty to clinch the win.
— Major League Soccer (@MLS) October 17, 2022