FC Dallas earned a Western Conference Finals appearance for the first time since 2010 after overcoming Seattle Sounders 4-2 in a penalty shoot-out in the MLS Cup play-offs on Sunday.
Spot-kicks were needed as 120 minutes were not enough to separate the two teams and a 3-3 aggregate tie following Dallas’ 2-1 second-leg win at Toyota Stadium.
And Dallas emerged triumphant in the shoot-out after goalkeeper Jesse Gonzalez made saves to deny Andreas Ivanschitz and Chad Barrett, and second-half substitute Walker Zimmerman scored the winning penalty.
The Sounders won the first leg 2-1 and looked set to reach the conference finals, until the match sparked into life with three goals during the final six minutes of regulation.
Second-half introduction Tesho Akindele put Dallas ahead on the night and on aggregate, when he headed the ball past Sounders keeper Stefan Frei in the 84th minute.
Dallas’ joy was short-lived, however, after Chad Marshall rose highest to nod the Sounders back into the aggregate lead in the final minute.
But just as Dallas were staring at elimination, they responded almost instantly, with Zimmerman glancing a header into the back of the net in the first minute of injury time, forcing extra time, which yielded no goals.
Portland Timbers are next up for Dallas after seeing off Vancouver Whitecaps 2-0 on aggregate.
Kei Kamara’s extra-time goal sent Columbus Crew into the Eastern Conference Finals at the expense of Montreal Impact.
Extra time was needed in Columbus after the Crew won 2-1 in regulation time to level the two-legged tie at 3-3.
And Kamara sealed the Crew’s progression with a 111th-minute winner, looping a header into the far corner of the net.
Ethan Finlay had restored the Crew’s second-leg lead with 13 minutes remaining in regulation after Dilly Duka cancelled out Kamara’s fourth-minute opener.
The Crew will play New York Red Bulls for a place in the MLS Cup final.
Bradley Wright-Phillips scored in the 92nd minute to clinch a 2-0 aggregate triumph for the Red Bulls against DC United.
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