Real Salt Lake Collapses Against Austin FC
SALT LAKE CITY – Real Salt Lake fell to Austin FC on the road 3-0 despite dominating the opening 45 minutes. The loss adds further stress with just three games remaining while Austin FC clinched a playoff spot for the first time in club history.
Manager Pablo Mastroeni made wholesale changes ahead of the fixture. Goalkeeper Zac MacMath was granted the captain’s armband while Johan Kappelhof, Justen Glad, and Aaron Herrera played in a back three. Bryan Oviedo and Andrew Brody acted as wingbacks, Scott Caldwell and Braian Ojeda were in the heart of the midfield while Diego Luna started in the 10 role. Rubio Rubin and Anderson Julio headlined the attack.
— Real Salt Lake (@realsaltlake) September 15, 2022
The opening five minutes involved an onslaught of attacks by the hosts. Austin came as close to scoring the opening goal in the fourth minute when Sebastián Driussi got on the end of a bouncing cross into the area that beat MacMath and ricocheted off the crossbar forcing Herrera to clear the ball.
However, once Real Salt Lake settled into the game they quickly found themselves on top of the contest.
Real Salt Lake dominated the opening half, largely due to the midfield dominance. Caldwell, Ojeda, and Luna were magnificent at finding open pockets of space and creating attacking opportunities.
Luna, in particular, was impressive when he found the ball at his feet. He showed a unique ability to control and possess with both feet while under pressure and frequently beat his opponents leaving them in the dust.
Brody was also brilliant throughout the opening half. Brody broke up and down the right side causing Nick Lima a lot of stress.
Nevertheless, Real Salt Lake failed to capitalize on its dominance and entered the half tied.
The second half began much like the first half concluded, with RSL dominating the time on the ball and creating more attacking chances.
Take A Bow, Moussa Djitté
Unfortunately, a lapse in concentration by Kappelhof gifted Austin the first goal of the match when he failed to follow Moussa Djitté who made a run into the box and got on the end of a Diego Fagúndez outside of the right foot cross.
Kappelhof’s lapse in concentration undid all of the good work previously done by RSL.
The goal changed the entire complexity of the game. Austin began to play with a sense of confidence and belief. The home crowd grew in voice and the challenge for RSL grew mightily.
Djitté found his brace, despite coming into the game as a substitute in the 58th minute when Kappelhof failed to clear a ball with his head, instead found the feet of Djitté who controlled the ball before unleashing a wicked strike into the far corner of the net to double the lead.
Real Salt Lake didn’t give up, Justen Glad came incredibly close to pinching a goal back from a corner kick but his shot fell into the lap of Brad Stuver.
Remarkably, Djitté completed a remarkable evening when he scored his hat trick in the 80th minute.
It's Moussa's world, we're all just living in it. pic.twitter.com/FZUKfAb1vO
— Austin FC (@AustinFC) September 15, 2022
It was the first hat trick in Austin FC history, and he accomplished the feat in a matter of 20 minutes coming off the bench.
After a terrific opening half, Real Salt Lake completely lost its shape and confidence in the second half.
Real Salt Lake will return home and play Cincinnati on Saturday evening. kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 and will be available to stream for free via the KSL Sports and KSL 5 TV apps or on KSL Sports dot com.
Including Saturday’s game, only three regular-season games remain for Real Salt Lake. The match against Cincinnati will mark the penultimate home game for RSL.
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