Benji Michel’s goal in a second penalty shootout and a late save by a reserve defender summoned to play goalie helped send Orlando City into the MLS Eastern Conference semifinals with a wild 1-1 (6-5) victory over NYCFC on Saturday.
No. 4 seed Orlando next plays Nov. 29 against top-seeded Philadelphia or No. 8 New England.
Orlando thought it had won at the end of the first penalty shootout when goalkeeper Pedro Gallese turned away NYCFC’s fifth penalty kick. But during the team’s brief celebration, officials ruled Gallese left his line early, drawing his second yellow card. Gallese then drew a red card when he disputed the call.
Referees concluded Orlando backup goalie Brian Rowe was ineligible, which forced it to bring in reserve centre back Rodrigo Schlegel in net. Orlando briefly lost track of the penalty kick count and thought it had won after Schlegel turned away NYCFC and started celebrating. Michel then came on to end it.
VIDEO: Unlikely hero Rodrigo Schlegel secures Orlando’s 1st playoff win:
Orlando scored in the fifth minute on a penalty kick from Nani, the result of a hand ball in the penalty area against NYCFC’s Anton Tinnerholm.
Three minutes later, Maxime Chanot tied it on a header off a corner kick from Jesus Medina.
Gallese helped keep it even in the first half with four saves. At the 43rd minute, Gallese stretched for saves to deny Valentin Castellanos and Keaton Parks seconds apart.
Crew set up possible clash with TFC
Pedros Santos, Darlington Nagbe and Gyasi Zardes scored and the Columbus Crew beat the New York Red Bulls 3-2 on Saturday to advance to the MLS Eastern Conference semifinals.
Third-seeded Columbus will play Nov. 29 against the winner of the Tuesday night match between second-seeded Toronto FC and No. 7 Nashville.
Seventeen-year-old Caden Clark gave the Red Bulls the lead in the 23rd minute. Santos tied it on a penalty kick in the 26th, Nagbe put the Crew ahead in the 46th and Zardes made it 3-1 in the 68th.
Brian White scored for New York in the 90th.
The <a href=”https://twitter.com/Audi?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>@Audi</a> <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/MLSCupPlayoffs?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#MLSCupPlayoffs</a> are WILD.<br><br>Where we stand. ⬇️ <a href=”https://t.co/X11uvtb7A5″>pic.twitter.com/X11uvtb7A5</a>