Austin FC II stayed sharp late in the match to capture MLS NEXT Pro Cup Sunday night with a 3-1 win at Columbus Crew 2. Austin FC II came from behind with a go-ahead goal from Valentin Noël.
Noël earned MLS NEXT Pro Cup MVP honors with his go-ahead goal in the 77th minute. Noël launched a shot at the top of the box that hit the top right corner of the net to bring Austin FC II from behind to lead the match.
Crew 2 went ahead in the 49th minute, with Thomas Roberts converting from the penalty spot.
Later on in the second half, Noël was taken down in the box for a penalty kick. Alonso Ramirez converted the spot kick to tie the match in the 70th minute.
Austin FC II sealed the win 10 minutes later by forcing an own goal to lead by two.
Crew 2 found the best chances to score in the first half, with four shots on goal. However, Austin FC goalkeeper Damian Las had the answer each time with four saves.
Las finished with six saves. Crew 2 managed 14 shots with seven on goal, while Austin FC II generated eight shots with five on goal.
The championship for Austin FC II finishes off an incredible season in which Brett Uttley's side became known as one of the best defensive teams in the league, giving up only 23 goals in the regular season.
Noël's playoff presence proved to be crucial for his team throughout the playoffs. Noël scored a game-winner in a 1-0 Western Conference Semifinal win over Tacoma Defiance.
Austin FC II were road warriors during the playoffs, with a playoff run entirely consisting of road games that included wins over Sporting Kansas City II, Tacoma Defiance, Colorado Rapids 2 and Crew 2.