Austin FC begins a two-match road trip on Saturday night in Utah, as the Verde & Black head west to take on Real Salt Lake (kickoff at 8:30 p.m. CT/7:30 p.m. MT).

Last season, the home team won both meetings between the clubs, with RSL earning a 1-0 victory at Rio Tinto Stadium and ATXFC winning 2-1 at Q2 Stadium. Austin will hope to flip that trend this weekend and maintain its hold on second place in the Western Conference and Supporters’ Shield standings.

Austin FC Outlook

Despite having the majority of the possession and the scoring chances last weekend against the LA Galaxy, the Verde & Black couldn’t quite find the back of the net, and fell to a narrow 1-0 defeat. But the result doesn’t detract from what’s been a stellar start to the season for ATXFC.

The Club has amassed 20 points from 10 matches and took points from 3 of 4 away games so far, including comeback victories in each of its last two on the road. The team’s promising patch of form on its travels bodes well for the coming months, which will see Austin play 7 of its next 9 matches away.

It’s a tricky stretch of schedule that runs from Saturday against RSL until July 9 against Atlanta United FC, but if the Verde & Black can continue to perform on the road, it will set the squad up well for the back half of the campaign, when it will play 9 of its final 15 matches at Q2 Stadium.

Real Salt Lake Outlook

The start of the season has been up-and-down for Real Salt Lake, who currently occupy fifth place in the Western Conference standings. Head Coach Pablo Mastroeni’s side won three of its opening four, but has just one win in eight matches in all competitions since. Despite those recent struggles, Rio Tinto Stadium has been good to them. RSL is yet to lose at home with a record of 3-1-0.

With 10 goals scored through 11 matches, RSL’s attack ranks third-lowest in the Western Conference in goals per game. It’s an offense by committee - eight different players have scored for Salt Lake this season, but only forwards Tate Schmitt and U.S. international Bobby Wood have multiple goals.

RSL got a boost last weekend with the return of forward Anderson Julio, who played his first minutes of the season in an away loss to Nashville SC, and it could get another boost from Jefferson Savarino. The Venezuelan forward played from 2017 to 2019 with Salt Lake and re-joined the club on May 4, though it’s unclear if he’ll be available for the Verde & Black’s visit to Utah on Saturday.

The status of midfielder Damir Kreilach - one of RSL’s best players who has only started three games this season due to injury - is also one to watch for ATXFC fans.

Probable Real Salt Lake Lineup

(4-4-2, R-L) - GK: Zac MacMath; Aaron Herrera, Justen Glad, Marcelo Silva, Andrew Brody; Maikel Chang, Scott Caldwell, Everton Luiz, Justin Meram; Bobby Wood, Rubio Rubin