by Elmer Mejia
Real Salt Lake had a devastating 3-2 loss last Saturday against the Portland Timbers. Now they must move on and put their focus on their next opponent: the new MLS team in Austin. Their last game against a Texas team in Houston ended in a draw. On paper Salt lake has the upper hand. However, games are won on the field.
This is a must-win game for Salt Lake if they want to stay alive for a playoff spot. If they can clinch the win, they will have 24 points and will be in pace for a chance to be in the playoffs pending other results.
First RSL vs Austin Matchup
This will be the first encounter that Real Salt Lake will have against Austin FC. This game will be held at the friendly confines of Rio Tinto Stadium. Real Salt Lake will have the fans to support them and that is a huge boost coming into this game. RSL has only won one game of their last six matches. They have tied in two games and lost in the other three. That is something that must improve and this game against Austin FC is a great opportunity to start a winning streak.
Salt Lake will take advantage of this new team as they are the favorites coming into this match. Austin FC comes from losing 3-2 to in-state rival FC Dallas. In their previous six matches, they have won two games and lost four of them. They currently sit in the twelfth spot with 16 points. They are struggling as a vulnerable defensive team as they have allowed eight goals in the last six games. Their last clean sheet was back on June 27, 2021 when they tied against Columbus Crew in a 0-0 draw.
Damir Kreilach lead RSL in goals with eight and he also has four assists. Rubio Rubin comes in second place in scoring with five goals and has three assists. These two will need to create some scoring opportunities if Real Salt Lake is going to win the match outright.
On the other hand, Cecilio Domínguez is Austin FC’s leading scorer with four goals along with two assists. He is followed by Diego Fagundez who has three goals and one assist on the season.
Crucial Game for RSL
This is a must-win game for Real Salt Lake if they are trying to keep their playoff hopes alive. They are currently in the eighth spot and must win to stay in the playoff contention. They are two points behind the sixth and seventh position teams: the Portland Timbers and Los Angeles FC. Minnesota, the fifth place team in the Western Conference, has 26 points so if they lose points this weekend and Real Salt Lake wins, they will be in a great position. This is an important game that could either make or break the season for Real Salt Lake.
Kickoff will start at 8 PM Mountain Time at Rio Tinto Stadium.
KEVIN JAIRAJ/USA TODAY