The MLS NEXT Pro Conference Semifinals included plenty of late heroics, with three of four matches ending 1-0. Columbus Crew 2's Noah Fuson, Colorado Rapids 2's Darren Yapi, and Austin FC II's Valentin Noel were the stars of Sunday night, while New England Revolution II's attack powered them to a conference final appearance.
Revs II will meet Crew 2 in the Eastern Conference Final, while Rapids 2 meets Austin FC II in the Western Conference Final. Check out the details from an exciting conference semifinal round.
Tacoma Defiance (0) - Austin FC II (1)
Valentin Noël's game-winning goal put an end to an intense affair at Starfire Stadium. Austin FC II advanced to meet Rapids 2 in the Western Conference Final.
Noël found the end of a David Rodriguez cross in the 82nd minute, directing his shot powerfully into the back of the net. Austin FC II took control after a Defiance red card in the 69th minute. Austin FC II goalkeeper Damian Las made three saves to preserve a clean sheet.
Colorado Rapids 2 (1) - Earthquakes II (0)
Colorado Rapids 2 advanced to the Western Conference final, as Darren Yapi fired the No. 1 seed in the West into the lead with the winning goal in the 84th minute. Earthquakes II fought hard to make things difficult for Rapids 2 despite going down a man after a second-minute red card.
Yapi received a pass forward from Yosuke Hanya and finished powerfully past the goalkeeper to hand Rapids 2 the late advantage. Rapids 2 piled on the pressure, with five shots on goal from 19 total shots. Quakes II managed three shots with none on goal.
Rapids 2 is set to host the Western Conference final.
Crown Legacy FC (0) - Columbus Crew 2 (1)
Noah Fuson struck in the 50th minute, and Crew 2's back line stayed stout for a shutout as Crew 2 punched a ticket to the Eastern Conference semifinal by taking down the conference's No. 1 seed.
Fuson received a long ball forward, brought the ball down with a deft touch, and dispatched into the opposite side netting to claim the game's only goal. Crew 2 coach Laurent Courtois' decision to take a defensive posture in an away match against the Eastern Conference's top-scoring team worked like a charm, with Crew 2 scoring off only one shot on goal. Crew 2's backline fended off 29 shots and nine on goal from Crown Legacy. 17-year-old Crew 2 goalkeeper Stanislav Lapkes made a whopping nine saves.
Crew 2 will face New England Revolution II in the Eastern Conference final.
New England Revolution II (2) - New York Red Bulls II (1)
Malcolm Fry and Victor Souza provided goals as New England Revolution II's excellent attacking form continued in a win over New York Red Bulls II to make the Eastern Conference final.
Fry struck in the 12th minute, dribbling into the middle of the box before firing a shot past the goalkeeper into the lower left corner. Souza doubled the lead with a header off a free kick from Jack Panayotou in the 59th minute. Julian Hall, who came on as a substitute for Red Bulls II, made the end of the match interesting by pulling goal back in the 62nd minute.
Revs II goalkeeper Jacob Jackson made three saves as Red Bulls II generated 17 total shots.
Stay tuned to MLSNEXTPro.com this week for news on the Conference Final dates and times.