AUSTIN (KXAN) — Of course Austin FC’s first-ever playoff match has to be settled in the most dramatic way possible,

Verde has a knack for clawing back and finishing matches late, especially at Q2 Stadium, and Sunday’s first-round Western Conference playoff match was no different. Tied 2-2 after regulation and extra time, Austin FC buried its first three penalty kicks and goalkeeper Brad Stuver turned two Real Salt Lake chances back, and Austin FC claimed its first-ever win in the Major League Soccer playoffs.

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“There’s a lot of character in this group,” Austin FC head coach Josh Wolff said. “Brad has done extremely well with penalty kicks this year. A lot of the credit goes to him for being prepped, and in the end, he’s making the plays and executing when the lights are on.”

Sebastian Driussi, who scored both of Austin’s goals in regulation, buried the first penalty kick of the shootout for Verde. After Stuver turned aside Andrew Brody’s try, Diego Fagundez hit a rocket into the top right corner of the goal. Stuver came up big again on RSL’s third try, getting just enough of Braian Ojeda’s shot to make it bounce lightly off the crossbar and fall straight down in front of the goal.

Emiliano Rigoni hit what turned out to be the clincher, slotting his shot to the bottom left corner. RSL’s Tate Schmitt stepped up in an attempt to extend the shootout, but his shot went way off course and ended up about 20 rows up in the Austin FC supporters’ section.

It looked like the match would never get to extra time, let alone a shootout. Real Salt Lake’s Sergio Cordova scored two goals in the first 15 minutes of the match, and it looked like a first-ever playoff disaster. His first came three minutes in on a header from a Brody service, and then he connected on a penalty kick in the 15th minute. The center official awarded RSL the chance after the VAR ruled Jhojan Valencia committed a handball in the penalty area.

Driussi cut the deficit in half when he nailed a header from the center of the 18-yard box from Diego Fagundez in the 31st minute. RSL withstood a barrage of Austin FC attacks for more than 70 minutes after Rubio Rubin was sent off in the 53rd for his second yellow card on a reckless tackle of Stuver.

In the fourth minute of stoppage time, RSL’s Scott Caldwell was called for a foul in the penalty area after Rigoni wound up a shot from about 15 yards away. Right after Rigoni hit it, it was blocked and the center official blew his whistle and pointed to the spot. Driussi calmly netted the penalty kick to tie the match 2-2 and send it to extra time.

RSL dropped into a 10-man shell defense in extra time and did what they wanted to — push the game to penalties — but second-seeded Austin FC didn’t waver amid the drama.

“Today was emotional,” Wolff said. “Our players and our staff, the time they’ve committed to this and been away from their families to do what they do, the effort they’ve given us. As a coach, you’re really proud of the people you work with. They’re awesome.”

With the win, Verde will host the conference semifinals at 7 p.m. Oct. 23 against either FC Dallas or Minnesota United. No. 4-seeded LA Galaxy beat No. 5-seeded Nashville 1-0 to set up an El Trafico derby match against LAFC in the conference semifinals next week. In the Eastern Conference, FC Cincinnati topped the New York Red Bulls 2-1 to advance to the semifinals against No. 1 Philadelphia.

Game log

Penalty kick shootout: RSL’s Tate Schmitt sends his shot into the supporters’ section and that’s all folks! Austin FC beats RSL 3-1 on penalties after a 2-2 draw. Austin moves on and will get another home match in the conference semifinals.

Stuver stops ANOTHER shot. Wow. It spins off his hand and clips the top of the crossbar. Rigoni buries it. It’s 3-1 Verde.

Stuver stops Brody’s shot, Fagundez connects on his and Austin FC has a 2-1 lead

Full extra time: RSL played 76 minutes down a man and withstood an onslaught of Austin FC attacks. We head to soccer’s lottery, the penalty kick shootout.

120‘ – 2 minutes of stoppage time added

113′ – Driussi scores! But it doesn’t count. Djitte was involved with the play and called offside. Brutal. Driussi thought he had his hat trick and the lead.

111′ – RSL finally gets a chance at goal and almost hits it. Andrew Brody hits a left-footer charging at Stuver but it rolls wide.

109′ – Fagundez’s corner finds Driussi and his header clangs off the far post. Nearly the go-ahead goal there

105′ – Rigoni’s header hits the side wall of the net, but folks in the supporters’ section thought it went in. A brief roar followed by sheepish silence. On we go to the second session of extra time, still tied 2-2

Austin FC won its first-ever MLS playoff game on penalty kicks Sunday against Real Salt Lake. (KXAN photo)

101′ – Felipe Martins sends a header just over the crossbar after a corner was played short. RSL not getting any chances at all at goal in extra time

98′ – Driussi controlled the pass into the penalty area a little too well … with his hand. The center official saw it and waved off the go-ahead goal. Correct call, for sure.

93′ – Fagundez was running free in the penalty area and whiffed on a header that was just a bit too tall for him.

We’re headed to extra time in the playoffs. Driussi’s penalty kick goal in the 4th minute of stoppage time tied it at 2-2. What a ride here today.

90+4′ – Driussi buries the penalty kick. It’s all tied up 2-2 and Q2 Stadium is green with delight. It’s his second goal of the game

90+1′ – Rigoni tries a shot from the edge of the 18-yard box and RSL is called for a foul in the box. It’s a penalty kick chance for Austin FC to tie it.

90‘ – 6 minutes of stoppage time added on

82′ – Felipe Martins comes in for Alex Ring after Austin FC wins a corner

78′ – Rigoni tries from distance but his ball goes well over the top and out.

71′ – Ring blasts a long-range shot off a Fagundez corner and MacMath bats it away.

67′ – Austin wins a corner and Fagundez plays it short to Rigoni. He tries to clip one into the mixer but MacMath gathers it. It feels like an equalizer is coming for Verde. A lot of action on RSL’s end.

64′ – Ruben Gabrielsen pushes forward on a corner and his shot goes over the top of the goal. Zan Kolmanic also comes in for John Gallagher

63′ – Driussi tries one from distance and it hits MacMath in the chest. Rebound was cleared away.

61′ – RSL brings in Jasper Loffelsend and Nick Besler. Maikel Chang and Cordova both come off.

59′ – Driussi goes down and draws a foul outside the 18-yard box on the left edge. Fagundez’s ball into the box goes right to MacMath.

53′ – RSL’s Rubio Rubin is sent off after his second yellow card. He slid into the legs of Stuver after Stuver collected a loose ball. Reckless challenge, for sure. RSL down to 10.

48′ – Pereira makes an impact right away but misses on a pass from Fagundez, and then Rigoni’s chance at the doorstep flashes over the top and out.

Changes at halftime – Djitte, Rigoni and Pereira all lined up to sub in for the second half. Urruti, Valencia, Finlay come out.

Halftime – What looked like a disaster early for Austin FC ends up being very manageable with Driussi’s goal. Austin FC outshooting RSL 10-7 and have a possession advantage, but it’s 2-1 RSL

45+4‘ – RSL’s Justen Glad gets a yellow card

45′ – Five minutes of stoppage time added on by the fourth official.

41′ – Austin FC’s Alex Ring goes in the book with a yellow card after a foul.

36′ – Austin wins a pair of corner kicks, one from each side, but can’t convert either of them. A shot following the second set piece by Valencia looped over the crossbar.

31′ – Who else but Sebastian Driussi? He cuts the RSL lead in half with a header off a cross from Fagundez. RSL 2, Austin 1

19′ – Austin FC earns another free kick deep in RSL territory, but the ball into the box gets swept away and cleared.

17′ – RSL’s Rubio Rubin goes into the book for a bad foul. Yellow for him.

14-15′ – The center official checked with VAR on a possible hand ball in the box on Austin’s Jhojan Valencia, and the penalty is given. Cordova connects and he’s got a brace already. 2-0 RSL

8′ – Diego Fagundez’s free kick flashes high of the goal and out for a goal kick. A missed opportunity early on for Verde.

7′ – Sebastian Driussi draws a foul just outside the penalty area and Austin earns a free kick.

3′ – RSL strikes first on a header from Sergio Cordova. Andrew Brody whipped the cross in right to Cordova who was making his run down the middle of the box. 1-0 RSL early on. Let’s see how Verde responds.

2:15 p.m.: Today’s match tifo in the supporters’ section. Verde hasta la muerte.

2 p.m.: The teams are done with pregame warmups and final field preparations are taking place. The official kickoff time is 2:18 p.m., and the game will air on ABC.