REAL SALT LAKE

Real Salt Lake Motivated, Poised Ahead Of Austin FC Clash

Oct 14, 2022, 4:09 PM

Rubio-Rubin-Real-Salt-Lake-Austin-FC...

Rubio Rubin of Real Salt Lake chases down the ball against Austin FC on September 14, 2022, at Q2 Stadium. (Photo by Laura Dearden/Real Salt Lake)

(Photo by Laura Dearden/Real Salt Lake)

SALT LAKE CITY – Real Salt Lake is headed for Q2 Stadium in Austin, Texas, for their MLS playoff opening round fixture against Austin FC.

The event will mark the first playoff game in the history of Austin FC, following their introduction to Major League Soccer in 2021. Last year, they failed to qualify for the postseason.

Real Salt Lake, on the other hand, has qualified for the playoffs in four of its previous five seasons. It is the second consecutive year that RSL cemented its playoff position on the final day of the regular season.

Much like last year, if RSL is to advance to the Western Conference Final, they will be tasked with playing every playoff game on the road due and it will start in Austin.

Q2 Stadium has quickly transformed into one of the most hostile environments in MLS. The fanbase is loud, and the city takes great pride in supporting its local soccer club.

A Familiar Venue, Q2 Stadium

Interestingly, it was not long ago that Real Salt Lake last visited Q2 Stadium. On September 14, RSL lost 3-0 to Austin following a second-half hattrick to substitute Moussa Djitté. Prior to the introduction of Djitté, RSL dominated the contest but failed to capitalize on opportunities created in front of goal.

Furthermore, Djitté has only scored a total of 4 goals from his 17 appearances in 2022.

Real Salt Lake enters the game in promising form following a 1-1 draw on the road against LA Galaxy before dominating Portland in the final game of the season at hand in a game that manager Pablo Mastroeni described as the “most complete team performance of the year to date.”

Austin, on the other hand, has not won a game since RSL last visited Q2 Stadium on September 14. They drew to Colorado and Nashville and home and lost 2-0 on the road against Vancouver.

Real Salt Lake will be without their captain Damir Kreilach who has returned to training for the first time since undergoing back surgery in June. Unfortunately, Kreilach will not be available to play against Austin as he continues to gain strength and trust in his body.

Aaron Herrera will also likely not be available following a knock to his calf against the Galaxy two weeks ago. Herrera then suffered another knock to the same calf in the lead-up to the fixture against Portland and has not been available since. He has not trained with the group at all this week.

Bobby Wood remains out following abductor surgery months ago. Wood will likely not return to the pitch this season.

Sebastián Driussi

Real Salt Lake will be looking to stop marquee player Sebastián Driussi who has notched 22 goals in 34 games, good enough for second most in the league only behind Hany Mukhtar of Nashville who has netted 23 goals on the year. 

“Driussi is really a game changer for them,” Mastroeni said following training on Friday. “Driussi is one of those players that has a knack for finding great spots, and obviously so technical to where there is not a surface on his body that he cannot score goals with.”

Braian Ojeda will likely be the player for RSL that is tasked with trying to neutralize Driussi. It will be the matchup to watch and will likely be a pivotal contest that determines the final result.

Watch Parties

For fans that are not making the trip to Austin, the club is hosting two watch parties in Salt Lake City. America First Field and Beer Bar will host free watch parties, doors at both venues will open at noon with kickoff scheduled for 1 p.m.

You must be 21 or older to enter Beer Bar.

Real Salt Lake Vs. Austin Match Info

Real Salt Lake and Austin will kick off from Q2 Stadium on Sunday, October 16, at 1 p.m.

The match will be broadcast via ABC.

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Real Salt Lake Motivated, Poised Ahead Of Austin FC Clash