Austin FC eliminate Real Salt Lake in penalty-kick shootout

Sebastian Driussi scored two goals and Brad Stuver stopped two shots in the decisive penalty shootout as host Austin FC defeated short-handed Real Salt Lake 3-1 on spot kicks following a 2-2 draw Sunday afternoon in their first-round Western Conference playoff game.

Driussi, Diego Fagundez and Emiliano Rigoni converted their penalties in the shootout for Austin and Stuver stopped shots by Andrew Brody and Braian Ojeda before Tate Schmitt skied his attempt over the crossbar to end the match.

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Driussi's second goal of the match, on a penalty kick four minutes into second-half stoppage time, sent the game into two extra 15-minute overtime periods. That was the last thing Real Salt Lake needed after being forced to play the final 44 minutes of regulation a man down when Rubio Rubin was booked for his second yellow card in the 52nd minute.

Neither team scored in overtime despite numerous chances for the home side, setting up Stuver's heroics in the shootout.

Austin, the second seed in the West during the regular season, moves on to the conference semifinals to play the winner of Monday's first-round match between third-seeded FC Dallas and sixth-seeded Minnesota United.

Sergio Cordova scored two goals for seventh-seeded Real Salt Lake, which was dispatched from the playoffs in the first round for the first time since 2016.

Austin FC forward Sebastian Driussi celebrates after scoring a goal against Real Salt Lake.
Austin FC forward Sebastian Driussi celebrates after scoring a goal against Real Salt Lake.
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The visitors struck early, as Brody's cross from outside the right side of the box was perfectly placed at the near post for Cordova, who leapt high to head the ball into the far-left corner of the net in the third minute.

Cordova added his second goal in the 15th minute from the spot after Austin's Jhojan Valencia was whistled for a hand ball in the penalty area. It was the first time all season that a Real Salt Lake player scored more than one goal in a game.

Austin cut the lead in half in the 31st minute when Driussi split defenders and jumped to deflect Fagundez's pass into the goalmouth beyond the reach of RSL goalkeeper Zac MacMath.

Rubin was given his second yellow card of the match and was sent off in the 52nd minute after a bad foul on Stuver in the box while chasing a long pass into the offensive end.

Driussi, who had 22 goals in the regular season, tied the match on the PK after RSL's Scott Caldwell committed a hand ball in the box in added time.