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What we’re watching in Real Salt Lake vs. Austin FC

RSL welcomes Austin FC to Rio Tinto Stadium

Lucas Muller | RSL Soapbox

Real Salt Lake host a strong Austin FC side tonight at Rio Tinto Stadium. Austin sit 2nd in the west, and have generally been good, but are coming off a loss to the Galaxy last weekend. RSL are also coming off a loss away to Nashville, so both teams will be looking to bounce back.

No Pablo Ruiz

Midfielder Pablo Ruiz has been one of the better players in the midfield for RSL this season, but today he’ll serve a one game suspension for yellow card accumulation – an impressive accomplishment this early in the season. This means we should see Everton Ruiz paired with Scott Caldwell in the middle of the field. Caldwell had played a fair amount earlier in the year, but has dropped off in recent weeks. The midfield has been RSL’s weakest point this season, so he may be able to impress with a start.

The defense

Austin’s attack has been one of the best in the league. They’ve scored 22 goals this season, only behind LAFC (with 23 goals). This will be the toughest test to RSL’s backline so far. Glad and Silva have been excellent. Chris Kablan should be available for this match, and while he may not start, he’s likely to get a run out. More importantly, we’ll need to see a strong defensive effort from the midfield that includes connecting passes if RSL wants to stay on top of Austin’s attack.

Who creates?

Real Salt Lake simply do not have any creative players on the field. There seems to be no one that can provide options to the attackers or themselves score unexpectedly. An attacking player has not scored for RSL since the team’s 2-2 draw with Toronto on April 9th. That’s over a month. That’s a massive problem and there’s no clear fix for it. With Sava’s arrival TBD and Dami still injured, something needs to change.

Injury report

Out: Farnsworth (right ankle), Halsey (ankle), Holt (left foot), Menendez (adductor)

Questionable: Kreilach (back), Cordova (right knee contusion), Kappelhof (left calf)

Predicted lineup