Austin FC hits the road again on Saturday, heading to Utah for the first time in Club history. There the Verde & Black will face Real Salt Lake at Rio Tinto Stadium -- a team currently sitting five points above them in the Western Conference standings.
This match is crucial as both Clubs try to get above the playoff line and into the MLS Cup Playoffs.
Austin FC Outlook
Austin FC is coming off a busy week packed with in-state rivalry matches, including a 3-2 win over the Houston Dynamo, followed by a 2-0 loss on the road to FC Dallas with more than 700 traveling Austin FC supporters in attendance.
Due to the fixture congestion, Austin FC head coach Josh Wolff opted to rotate his squad a bit after the Houston win, with a handful of players getting the rare chance to start in Frisco. With a week off, the squad should be rested and ready for a crucial clash against RSL.
Playmaker Sebastián Driussi could be ready to play a greater role, following his 30 minute debut against Dallas, while Tomás Pochettino will look to replicate his Player of the Week performance against Houston after a well-deserved week off. After recently returning from injury and appearing a couple times off the bench, fullback Nick Lima also looks to be available for selection.
Striker Moussa Djitté arrived in Austin this week to great fanfare and has been training in isolation as he follows MLS quarantine protocols.
Real Salt Lake Outlook
Real Salt Lake enters this match having lost each of its last two matches. RSL’s most recent loss came on Saturday night when Freddy Juarez’s team visited the Portland Timbers.
The Timbers pounced on RSL early, scoring twice in the first 30 minutes. RSL midfielder Albert Rusnak brought his team back to 2-1, but Felipe Mora put the Timbers ahead 3-1 -- providing enough cushion as Portland ended up winning 3-2.
Damir Kreilach has been the star for RSL, scoring eight goals and providing five assists. The Croatian was recently named to his first MLS All-Star Game.
Probable RSL Lineup
(4-2-3-1, R-L) - GK: Zac MacMath; Aaron Herrera, Justen Glad, Toni Datkovic, Donny Toia; Pablo Ruiz, Everton Luiz; Jonathan Menendez, Damir Kreilach, Albert Rusnak; Rubio Rubin