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Austin vs Real Salt Lake

Survive and advance! Austin FC given all they can handle in penalty shootout win over 10-man RSL

1:01 AM GMT 17/10/2022
Driussi Austin 2022
Austin FC survived, and only just, their first MLS playoff game, sealing a shootout win over Real Salt Lake after a 2-2 deadlock through 120 minutes.
  • Austin FC survive penalty shootout
  • RSL take early lead, but undone by Rubin red card
  • Winner of FC Dallas - Minnesota up next

WHAT HAPPENED? Underdogs RSL started the game with a bang, as Sergio Cordova scored twice within the first 15 minutes to quiet the Austin crowd.

The hosts, though, did fight back, with star man Sebastian Driussi pulling one back before halftime to give Austin hope. That hope only multiplied in the 52nd minute when RSL forward Rubio Rubin was sent off with a second yellow card after needlessly sliding into Austin goalkeeper Stuver.

With just minutes remaining, though, it all fell apart for RSL as a handball call in the box allowed Driussi to level the score in stoppage time to keep the game going.

RSL bunkered in through the extra 30 minutes, forcing a penalty shootout despite several close calls, but Stuver came up huge with two saves to lift his side into the next round.

THE BIGGER PICTURE: It was simply a game of survival for RSL, who were forced to defend deep for over an hour against Austin's star-led attack. In the end, talent won out as the team with an MVP candidate and a match-winning goalkeeper beat the team that has neither. All things considered, that's usually how these sorts of things go.

Still, Austin FC will be slightly frustrated not to get the goal they so thoroughly deserved during their 70ish minutes up a man after firing a whopping 38 shots over 120 minutes.

ALL EYES ON: When it comes to Austin, who else could it be? Driussi is the guy in green and black, as he has been all season. He scored twice on the day and calmed all nerves by starting the penalty shootout by making his spot kick. The Argentine could have easily have had two or three more goals throughout the 120 minutes if not for a few narrow refereeing decisions, but he won't care as Austin FC did what they had to do to move on.

THE VERDICT: At this point in the season, all you can ask for are wins, but you do have to wonder what this will mean for Austin's energy levels going forward. The good news? They'll have a whole week off after playing 120 hard minutes against a very game RSL side.

As for that RSL team, it ends in heartbreak. They did everything they could to get a result and, at times, it looked like destiny was on their side. In the end, though, the better team won with the underdogs unable to find the bounces in the penalty shootout that they had during the 120 minutes that preceded it.

WHAT NEXT FOR AUSTIN? It won't get much easier for Austin going forward as they'll host the winner of FC Dallas and Minnesota United in the next round.