Houston knocks Real Salt Lake out of MLS playoffs on penalty kicks

Dynamo flip the script on RSL after losing in a shootout in Game 2.

Houston Dynamo midfielder Griffin Dorsey, front, goes down as he tries to keep the ball from Real Salt Lake midfielder Diego Luna, back, during the first half of an MLS playoff soccer match Saturday, Nov. 11, 2023, in Houston. (AP Photo/Michael Wyke)

Houston • Griffin Dorsey scored the decisive goal in a 4-3 shootout victory and the Houston Dynamo advanced to the Western Conference semifinals after a 1-1 draw with Real Salt Lake on Saturday in the rubber match of the first-round MLS Cup series.

Houston (15-11-9), the fourth seed in the West, will play No. 8 seed Sporting Kansas City in the conference semifinals. The second-seeded Seattle Sounders host defending champion and No. 3 seed Los Angeles FC in the other semifinal.

Houston took a 1-0 lead into halftime when Corey Baird took a pass from Héctor Herrera and scored in the 28th minute. It was the first career postseason goal for Baird, who spent his first three seasons in the league with Real Salt Lake.

Real Salt Lake forward Danny Musovski reacts after his shot was blocked in the overtime penalty shootout against the Houston Dynamo in the second half of an MLS playoff soccer match Saturday, Nov. 11, 2023, in Houston. (AP Photo/Michael Wyke)

Diego Luna used assists from Bryan Oviedo and Braian Ojeda in the 65th minute to score the equalizer for Real Salt Lake. Both of Luna’s two career postseason goals came in this series.

Luna and Danny Musovski, who entered in the 90th, misfired for Real Salt Lake in the shootout. Adalberto Carrasquilla, Thorleifur Úlfarsson and Amine Bassi scored the other shootout goals for the Dynamo.

Steve Clark finished with two saves in regulation play for the Dynamo. Zac MacMath saved four shots in regulation for RSL.

Houton improves to a league-best 10-1-5 in all competitions since the Leagues Cup break.

Real Salt Lake (14-13-8) finished the season with 11 road wins in all competitions. Only the Los Angeles Galaxy, with 13 in 1998, had more wins away from home in a calendar year.

RSL beat Houston 5-4 in a penalty shootout Monday in Sandy — following a 1-1 tie in regulation — to force the decisive Game 3 in the playoff series.