Alex Callens, who converted the winning PK, celebrates with his NYCFC teammates. (Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports)

By Michael Lewis

FrontRowSoccer.com Editor

By toppling the New England Revolution Tuesday night, New York City FC managed to pull off a pair of momentous results with one stunning win.

City sent the Supporters’ Shield winners home packing and advanced to the Eastern Conference final of the MLS Cup Playoffs for the very first time.

NYCFC played the Revs to a 2-2 draw before prevailing in the shootout, 5-3. Goalkeeper Sean Johnson saved Adam Buksa’s attempt as his teammates converted all their tries. Alex Callens booted home the fifth and final penalty to give City the win on a wild and cold night at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass.

“The game as a whole, unbelievable,” Johnson said. said. “The way we played all the way until the end. What we said internally was that no matter what happened, we stick together, we keep going. That’s a classic example of that tonight. Giving up the second goal of extratime.

“Historically penalty shoot outs haven’t been our thing but we said let’s make this moment let’s embrace it. Let’s enjoy it. And yeah, everybody stepped up in a big way.”

Head coach Ronny Deila agreed and elaborated as his team extended its unbeaten streak to seven games (4-0-3; shootouts are considered draws in the record books).

“That was a great game. Again another top performance,” he said. “We were the better team. I think we deserved to win. And to do it against the champions, that’s a great achievement away. We dealt with a lot of things going against us during the game and we came back again. So just says something about this group, again, the togetherness and the character and the leadership that we talked about last year. We’re not finished. We will have to enjoy this tonight and then we have to prepare again for Philadelphia on Sunday.”

Golden Boot winner Taty Castellanos had given City a 2-1 lead in extratime. Castellanos beat goalkeeper Matt Turner from point-blank range at the near post as he nodded in Gudmundur Thórarinsson’s feed.

However, the NYCFC striker won’t play against the Philadelphia Union in Saturday’s conference final as he was sent off for his second yellow card in the 113rd minute, forcing the visitors to play a man down for the remaining seven minutes of extratime and six minutes of injury time.

Tajon Buchanan knotted things up for the Revs in the 118th minute, sending the 25,000-plus crowd into a frenzy as he buried Emmanuel Boateng’s left-flank cross past goalkeeper Sean Johnson.

Buksa almost became the hero as he rambled in on Johnson three minutes into stoppage time of the second extratime, but Johnson managed to knock the ball out of bounds.

In was an entertaining game as both sides had their opportunities, although NYCFC had more chances.

The hosts, who hadn’t played in 23 days, showed their rust early as NYCFC stunned them with a third-minute goal. The sequence started with a throw-in on the left side. The visitors worked the ball around in the attacking area before Tayvon Gray shuffled off a short pass to Santiago Rodriguez, who drilled home an 11-yard shot past goalkeeper Matt Turner. Jesus Medina also received an assist.

It was the fastest goal the Revs had allowed in two years.

“I don’t think I would score that quickly,” Rodriguez said. “Coming out of the locker room, our focus was was just to play well score make assists. But I didn’t think I would score in the first three minutes. It kind of happened last time we played in New England, I scored within 10 minutes. So kind of just happy that everything played out the way it did.”

It didn’t take long for New England to equalize as Buksa headed in Carles Gil’s free kick from six yards past keeper  Johnson for a 1-1 tie in the ninth minute.

The first half was an entertaining 45 minutes as both sides pushed up. City penetrated a couple of times into the Revolution box, but could not get off a decent shot after its early score.

Four minutes into the second half, Rodriguez found himself alone on the right side of the box, but his shot did not have much mustard and Turner had an easy save, his first of the night.

NYCFC dominated the opening 25 minutes of the second half, making the Revs sweat, particularly during a very short span.

Maxi Moralez rammed a shot off the right post in the 64th minute and a minute later Turner was called on to make a big save on Rodriguez’s close-range shot.

Goalkeeper Sean Johnson made his first stop in the 68th minute when he stopped Gustavo Bou’s attempt in the 68th minute.

City, which has a paucity of able midfielders, took a major hit when it lost James Sands to a leg injury and was replaced by Tony Rocha in the 82nd minute.

Three minutes later, Branden Bye sent a right-wing cross into the area that Johnson bobbled before he managed to retain possession.

In the 90th minute, it appeared Castellanos could not get control of a perfect left-wing cross and watched the ball sail harmlessly off his foot out of bounds.

“This game means everything,” Johnson said. “Chasing a trophy for this club means everything. For as a captain, it was incredible to see. We talk about a family here, the traveling support. Our supporers section was unbelievable. They came out in full force. They were loud. This meant everything and in every game now has a significance. Every game is a step to what we want to achieve. And ultimately that’s the MLS Cup.”