RSL upset Seattle, Mukhtar inspires Nashville in MLS Cup playoffs
Los Angeles, Nov 24, 2021 (AFP) - Hany Mukhtar scored twice to lift Nashville SC to a 3-1 victory over Orlando City on Tuesday and into the second round of Major League Soccer's MLS Cup playoffs.
Third-seeded Nashville booked an Eastern Conference semi-final clash with second-seeded Philadelphia this Sunday.
Real Salt Lake advanced to the Western Conference semi-finals, beating the Seattle Sounders 6-5 on penalties after they played to a goalless draw in extra time.
As so often this season, Nashville fell behind, but rallied on the back of German midfielder Mukhtar.
US international Daryl Dike put Orlando up early, heading in a corner kick in the 14th minute.
But Nashville responded, a shot from Mukhtar deflecting off Orlando's Antonio Carlos and arching into the goal over keeper Pedro Gallese in the 21st minute.
Mukhtar struck again in the 74th minute, collecting the ball in midfield and beating two defenders before firing a low shot past Gallese, to the delight of the Nashville crowd.
Jhonder Cadiz capped the scoring for Nashville in second-half stoppage time.
Real Salt Lake pulled off an upset in Seattle. Visiting goalkeeper David Ochoa saved Kelyn Rowe's penalty -- Seattle's sixth of the shootout.
Then Justen Glad stepped up for Salt Lake and scored the winning penalty, his shot going over the line with the help of the post after Sounders keeper Stefan Frei had slowed the ball.
Salt Lake advance to a Western Conference semi-final against Sporting Kansas City on Sunday.
The conference semi-finals get under way on Thursday when Western Conference top seeds Colorado, who had a first-round bye, host Portland.
Eastern Conference top seeds New England, who won their first Supporters' Shield as the team topping the regular-season table, host New York City FC on November 30.