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Match preview: Real Salt Lake hosts Austin FC in first-ever meeting

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RSL will play host to expansion side Austin FC as they look to snap a three-game winless skid.

MLS: Real Salt Lake at Portland Timbers Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

Real Salt Lake returns home to take on expansion side Austin FC after a disheartening loss on the road to Portland last week. This will be the first of two straight home games, both against Texas opponents as RSL will look to grab some points and jump back ahead of the playoff line.

This will be the first meeting between RSL and newcomers Austin FC, who joined the league this year and have been struggling to find their place in the Western Conference. They’re tied for last place with Vancouver, both teams with 16 points, but Austin sits just ahead of them thanks to a two-goal lead in goal differential. They’ve lost four of their last five, with their only win in that stretch coming at home in a 3-2 win over the Dynamo. They most recently lost 2-0 to their other in-state rivals, FC Dallas, thanks to goals from Ryan Hollingshead and Jesus Ferreira.

Real Salt Lake will be looking to shake off a three-game winless skid after losing back-to-back games to the LA Galaxy and the Portland Timbers. In fact, RSL has only won one in their last six outings, and two in their last 10. Those two wins included some of the best soccer we’ve seen RSL play all year, with commanding 4-0 and 3-0 victories over Vancouver and Colorado, respectively.

Both Albert Rusnak and Damir Kreilach scored in the 3-2 loss to Portland last week, playing some promising attacking soccer even though the team wasn’t able to find an equalizer to steal a point on the road. That makes eight goals for the team’s leading scorer Kreilach while Rusnak sits at four on the season.

Austin will be missing a handful of players, including striker Danny Hoesen (hip) who has been sidelined since the end of May, and defender Ben Sweat (ACL) who’s been out since April. The visitors return home next week to host the Vancouver Whitecaps while RSL will also stay home to play host to the Houston Dynamo.


Absences

Real Salt Lake
OUT: David Ochoa (undisclosed), Zack Farnsworth (undisclosed), Andrew Brody (undisclosed), Jeizon Ramirez (undisclosed), Justen Glad (yellow card accumulation)

Austin FC
OUT: Aaron Schoenfeld (knee), Ulises Segura (knee), Ben Sweat (ACL), Danny Hoesen (hip), McKinze Gaines (adductor)

Projected Lineups

Real Salt Lake
MacMath; Herrera, Silva, Datkovic, Toia; Ruiz, Luiz; Menendez, Kreilach, Rusnak; Wood

Austin FC
Stuver; Jimenez, Cascante, Besler, Kolmanic; Ring, Berhalter; Fagundez, Pochettino, Dominguez; Gallagher

Match info

When: Saturday, August 14, 8:00p.m. MT

Where: Rio Tinto Stadium — Sandy, UT

Weather: 88 degrees, clear (sunset at 8:27p.m.)

Broadcast: KMYU, KSL TV app (streaming), ESPN+ (streaming), ESPN700 (radio)