Sporting Kansas City – and Wigan Athletic FA Cup hero Roger Espinoza – won their first play-off game in five years to secure their spot in the MLS Western Conference finals.
Goals from Diego Rubio, Daniel Salloi (2) and Ilie powered them to a 4-2 victory over Real Salt Lake, giving them a 5-3 win on aggregate.
Rubio put the side on the scoreboard after less than 15 minutes before Salloi added another after a Felipe Gutierrez pass just five minutes later.
The teams traded goals in the second half, with Sebastian Saucedo and Damir Kreilach putting RSL within touching distance of levelling the match.
But a penalty from Ilie and a strike from Salloi in the final minute of stoppage time put an end to RSL’s season.
SKC will now face the Portland Timbers – whose line-up features another former Latics man, defender Liam Ridgewell – in the conference play-off final.
Atlanta United , who hope to have ex-Latics midfielder Chris McCann back from a thigh injury soon, and New York Red Bulls will battle it out in the Eastern Conference play-off final.
Atlanta headed into the second leg of their semi-final against New York City FC with an advantage following an away goal in the opener.
And a 3-1 win on Sunday secured their spot in the conference championship for the first time in the club’s history.
Josef Martinez scored twice – a penalty past Sean Johnson in the first half and a goal in the 83rd minute – while Miguel Almiron added to the score with a stunning free-kick just before half-time.
Maxime Chanot clawed one back for NYC, but it was not enough to keep the side in contention.
The New York Red Bulls won their semi-final play-off 3-1 on aggregate following a 3-0 defeat of Columbus Crew SC at Red Bull Arena.
Alex Muyl levelled the tie in the 17th minute, leaving the game hanging in the balance until Daniel Royer struck twice in quick succession in the final 20 minutes.
The MLS Cup final will be held on December 8.