MX23RW : Monday, May 23 02:37:48| >> :600:140493:140493:
[monks data]
Aug 15, 2021 at 3am UK at Rio Tinto Stadium
Salt Lake
1 - 0
Austin
Wood (32')
Morgan (68')
FT(HT: 1-0)

Ring (44')
Cascante (49')

Preview: Real Salt Lake vs. Austin FC - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Sunday's Major League Soccer clash between Real Salt Lake and Austin FC, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Real Salt Lake are hoping to climb back into a playoff position in the Western Conference when they host Austin FC on Saturday at Rio Tinto Stadium.

Salt Lake are winless in their previous three fixtures, losing their last two, while the Verde-and-Black conceded two second-half goals to fall 2-0 to Dallas.


Match preview

Real Salt Lake midfielder Damir Kreilach (8) celebrates with midfielder Pablo Ruiz (6) after scoring a goal against the Portland Timbers during the second half at Providence Park pictured on August 7, 2021© Reuters

Having reached the midway point of the year, Real Salt Lake have grown tremendously from their previous season, but they are still on the outside in terms of the playoff picture in the highly competitive Western Conference.

Except for a couple of off games, Freddy Juarez has seen his side fight hard, showing a real commitment and purpose, but lately, they do not have much to show for it.

They have failed to score in two of their last three matches, in games that were there for the taking, so the key for them moving into the second half of the season will be, as Juarez put it, developing that one percent so that these tight matches for them result in three points, rather than one or none.

Claret and Cobalt have some explosive individual talent in attack with the likes of Rubio Rubin and Damir Kreilach, but they have yet to find a way to use all of their individual talent into a system that can enable the whole team to succeed.

Salt Lake have done most of their damage at home lately, scoring nine goals in their last five matches played in Sandy, Utah.

Only two points currently separate them from Los Angeles FC for that final playoff spot, but as close as they are to returning to the playoffs, a couple of slip-up could drop them to the bottom of the conference in a hurry, with only five points separating them from the last-place Vancouver Whitecaps.

Austin FC head coach Josh Wolff reacts during the match against FC Dallas at Toyota Stadium on August 8, 2021© Reuters

A lack of finish in the final third has cost Austin all season long, and that was the case again last weekend as they lost to their Texas rivals.

This expansion side are winless in their last seven road fixtures and have been held scoreless in 11 games this year, with six of those shutout losses coming away from home.

Josh Wolff will hope that their new acquisitions can add some offensive punch to this side, who have done a terrific job of maintaining possession, but are still lacking that consistent attacking threat who can finish off their great build-up.

If they want to contend for a playoff spot in their inaugural campaign, they have to find some consistency in their results, as winning one out of every five or six games that you play will not cut it.

Austin have been very competitive and held their own in most of their matches, but they have only shown flashes of offensive brilliance so far in 2021.

The rest of this month could be make or break for this team, with three of their next four games at home while facing four teams who are either even with them on points or just slightly ahead of them out west.

Real Salt Lake Major League Soccer form:
  • L
  • D
  • W
  • D
  • L
  • L

Austin FC Major League Soccer form:
  • W
  • L
  • L
  • L
  • W
  • L



Team News

Real Salt Lake head coach Freddy Juarez directs his team against the Portland Timbers during the first half at Providence Park on August 7, 2021© Reuters

Zac MacMath has started the last three fixtures in goal for Salt Lake in relief of David Ochoa, who has an undisclosed injury, while Zack Farnsworth and Andrew Brody remain on the sidelines with unknown injuries as well.

Defender Toni Datkovic made his first MLS start after coming over from Aris Thessaloniki in Greece and Rubio Rubin made his first appearance at Providence Park last weekend in his native Oregon, where he grew up.

Albert Rusnak scored his first goal for Claret and Cobalt since mid-July, and defender Justen Glad will not be available after receiving a fifth yellow card on Saturday.

Sebastian Driussi made his debut for Austin last weekend against Dallas, entering as a substitute just past the hour mark, while Wolff made several changes to the starting lineup, inserting Jhohan Romana, Aedan Stanley, Manny Perez and Daniel Pereira into the team.

Aaron Schoenfeld and Ulises Segura remain out with left knee injuries, Ben Sweat has an ACL issue, Danny Hoesen is suffering from a left hip problem and McKinze Gaines has a left abductor strain.

Senegalese striker Moussa Djitte arrived in Austin earlier this week and has been training in isolation as per MLS quarantine protocols, and Tomas Pochettino is hoping to return to form after earning Player of the Week honours following his brace against the Houston Dynamo in their previous match.

Real Salt Lake possible starting lineup:
MacMath; Toia, Datkovic, Silva, Herrera; Rusnak, N. Besler, Ruiz, Julio; Kreilach, Rubin

Austin FC possible starting lineup:
Stuver; Stanley, M. Besler, Cascante, Lima, Kolmanic; Pochettino, Ring, Berhalter; Dominguez, Driussi


SM words green background

We say: Real Salt Lake 2-0 Austin FC

Salt Lake have been very convincing at home lately, scoring five goals in their last two games while creating plenty of scoring opportunities.

Austin made a point to add some offensive punch to their side before the transfer window closed, but while they may have gotten some upgrades on paper, it will take some time for the newcomers like Driussi to learn the Austin system.


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How you voted: Salt Lake vs Austin

Real Salt Lake
73.7%
Draw
21.1%
Austin FC
5.3%
19
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Tables

Eastern Conference

TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1New York City FCNY City1272324101423
2Philadelphia UnionPhiladelphia12561169721
3Orlando City136341617-121
4New York Red BullsNY Red Bulls135532014620
5CF MontrealMontreal136252423120
6FC CincinnatiCincinnati136161821-319
7Atlanta UnitedAtlanta124441918116
8Charlotte FCCharlotte FC135171216-416
9New England RevolutionNew England124352122-115
10Inter MiamiInter Miami134361321-815
11DC United124261619-314
12Columbus Crew123451515013
13Toronto133371825-712
14Chicago Fire132561117-611

Western Conference

TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1New York City FCNY City1272324101423
2Philadelphia UnionPhiladelphia12561169721
3Orlando City136341617-121
4New York Red BullsNY Red Bulls135532014620
5CF MontrealMontreal136252423120
6FC CincinnatiCincinnati136161821-319
7Atlanta UnitedAtlanta124441918116
8Charlotte FCCharlotte FC135171216-416
9New England RevolutionNew England124352122-115
10Inter MiamiInter Miami134361321-815
11DC United124261619-314
12Columbus Crew123451515013
13Toronto133371825-712
14Chicago Fire132561117-611

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