Sun, 24 Sep 2023

Surging Austin FC host struggling Real Salt Lake

Field Level Media
03 Jun 2023, 10:55 GMT+10

Resurgent Austin FC will be chasing history and look to move up in the standings when it hosts struggling Real Salt Lake on Saturday in a Western Conference match.

Austin has won three of its past four matches (3-1-0), including both matches at home. The club has never won three straight games at home in its three years in MLS.

Austin's most recent win was a rousing 2-1 home victory over Minnesota United on Wednesday. The Verde (5-6-4, 19 points) got the game-winning goal from Sebastian Driussi in the 82nd minute and held on thanks to a pair of saves by Brad Stuver in the final minutes.

"I think that we put ourselves in a position where we weren't going to break," Stuver said after the win. "The team's resiliency, the team camaraderie, the team belief that we were going to get three points out of this is what I want to carry into next game and the games after that."

Driussi, last season's runner-up for league MVP, entered in the 61st minute after a groin injury sidelined him for over a month, as he was making his first appearance in a match since April 29. He will likely fill the substitute role again on Saturday as he works back into form after the layoff.

Saturday's match will be the ninth overall in 29 days for Austin FC across all competitions.

"The guys are exhausted," Austin coach Josh Wolff said. "I haven't seen that ever in the league, certainly at this point in the season."

Real Salt Lake (4-7-4, 16 points) has won just once in its past seven MLS matches (1-2-4) and head to Austin after a 3-2 loss at home to the L.A. Galaxy on Wednesday.

Danny Musovski and Pablo Ruiz had second-half goals for RSL but it could not hold on, surrendering two goals to the Galaxy over a two-minute stretch in the second half.

"We can do a lot better in really managing the emotional roller coaster of the game," Real Salt Lake coach Pablo Mastroeni said. "You want to get after it and keep the foot on the gas, and in doing so open up a lot of space in the middle."

The most recent match between the sides, on March 11, produced a 2-1 win for Austin that was the first road victory for either team in the series.

--Field Level Media

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