Austin FC and Real Salt Lake met for the first time on Saturday night at Rio Tinto Stadium as the two Clubs fought for positioning in the Western Conference. RSL came out on top, beating Austin 1-0 with Bobby Wood providing the lone goal in the match.
Austin created its first significant chance in the 28th minute when Diego Fagundez rocketed a shot off the post from outside the box with his right foot. The rebound eventually ended up on the foot of Hector Jimenez and the right back lofted the ball to the back post. Tomás Pochettino made a strong effort, but could not get his header on frame.
Four minutes later, Real Salt Lake opened the scoring. Jonathan Menéndez played in a cross from the wing that Wood finished with a header.
Down coming out of halftime, Austin was hoping to come out of the break and find an equalizer. Unfortunately, ATXFC went down 10 men just a couple minutes into the second half.
After a frenetic sequence, RSL winger Justin Meram was running on goal with Julio Cascante beside him. The Austin center back fouled Meram outside the box and was shown a yellow card. Video Assistant Referee Victor Rivas called referee David Gantar to the monitor and after the play was reviewed, Gantar showed Cascante a red card in the 49th minute.
Austin controlled much of the run of the play for the rest of the match and Brad Stuver made an acrobatic save on Maikel Chang in the 80th minute to keep the match 1-0, but ATXFC could not get on the scoresheet to get a result.
- FIGHT UNTIL THE END: Despite playing down for almost the entirety of the second half, Austin looked like the more dangerous team for the final 45 minutes. ATXFC created multiple opportunities in transition and controlled the majority of the possession but were unable to find an equalizer.
- DRIUSSI’S FIRST START: After making his first appearance off the bench for the Verde & Black last week, Sebastián Driussi made his first start for Austin against RSL. The Argentine played up top and created two chances as he added a different presence for Josh Wolff’s team. He was substituted off in the 73rd minute.
- AVAILABILITY ISSUES: Austin returns to action on Wednesday when Vancouver Whitecaps FC visit Q2 Stadium for the second time. The Verde & Black will be without Julio Cascante, as he serves his suspension, and Josh Wolff could also be without another starting defender as Žan Kolmanič was substituted off at halftime after suffering an injury towards the end of the first half.
- Wolff on if he got an explanation for the red card: "There wasn't one. The fourth [official] doesn't give any explanation. I tried to talk to the official afterwards. All we hear is that he's got to go look at it up top. There was a few real questionable things happening out there tonight."
- Alex Ring on the good from tonight's game: " "We stuck in there, we played together and especially after the red card we kept going. It's obvious they're going to have their chances because we didn't stay on our back foot, we tried to go for it. That's something I'm proud of and that's something we have to keep."
- Wolff on the grit the team showed in the second half and the culture of Austin FC: "I think you see what the culture is. I think you see what the environment and the identity is. This team works and they're tireless and they play good soccer."