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Dynamo outlasts Real Salt Lake on penalties to reach West semifinals


The Houston Dynamo became the fourth and final team to solidify their place in the Western Conference Semifinals of the 2023 MLS Cup Playoffs.

Corey Baird scored once in regulation before Ben Olsen’s squad outlasted Real Salt Lake 4-3 in a penalty shootout. The teams were level 1-1 after 90 minutes at Shell Energy Stadium after Baird and Diego Luna traded goal efforts in the match.

Baird, the former RSL man, slotted home in the 28th minute for his team off of a set piece. Hector Herrera’s headed pass allowed Baird to deliver his first goal for the Dynamo since Oct. 7.

RSL would equalize in the 65th minute as Luna finished off a set piece in the Dynamo box. Bryan Oviedo’s free kick was headed home by the 20-year-old Luna for his fourth goal in his last five appearances.

Zac MacMath made four key saves for RSL as he denied both Nelson Quinones and Amine Bassi later in the half. Bassi was repelled a second time in the 88th minute before Thorleifur Ulfarsson also saw his scoring chance rejected by the veteran goalkeeper.

Both teams scored their penalty chances in the opening two rounds before Luna’s third-round attempt was denied by Steve Clark. Nelson Quinones was denied in the fourth round by MacMath, but RSL couldn’t take advantage.

Danny Musovski skied his penalty over the crossbar, allowing Griffin Dorsey the opportunity to seal advancement for the Dynamo.

Houston will now host Sporting KC in the West semifinals with Seattle and LAFC squaring off on the other side of the bracket.

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