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

RSL are back home after a pair of road draws as they host Austin

What we’re watching in Real Salt Lake vs. Austin FC
Lucas Muller | Wasatch Soccer Sentinel

Real Salt Lake are coming off another dramatic comeback draw, most recently against the Seattle Sounders. Austin FC are 5th place in the west, with 2 wins, 2 draws, and a loss in their last 5 games. RSL remain top of the west, but their points per game is starting to slip and they need to get back to winning games again.

The backline

RSL have been shipping goals lately and it’s a problem. While a road draw is generally a decent result in the league, goals from FC Dallas and the Sounders were completely preventable, and the team dropped 4 points as a result. Andrew Brody and Zac MacMath both have had rough moments recently, but with Brayan Vera back in the starting XI, it helps (not to mention his vision to send the ball into the box from deep to help Gomez score against Seattle). If the defenders can clean up some of those mistakes, it’s a step back in the right direction.

Gomez continues to shine

Andres Gomez rescued a late point for the team on Wednesday and he’s been one of the best players on the squad this year. So much of what RSL want to do goes through him. He’s good on the ball, keeps defenders on their toes, and can shoot from distance. He continues to improve and is turning heads around the league.

Crooks, Chang, and Julio likely out

Matt Crooks is serving a suspension for yellow card accumulation. When he’s been out recently, the team has often played with Chicho Arango deeper and Anderson Julio up top, or with Chang at the 10. With Crooks out, and Chang and Julio both questionable, we could see something completely new in the attack. Ideally Luna would play the 10, with Barajas and Gomez on the wings, and Chicho at center forward, but we’ll have to wait to see for certain.

Injury report

Out: Bonilla (knee), Ruiz (knee), Silva (hamstring), Holt (hamstring)

Questionable: Hidalgo (hamstring), Julio (concussion protocol following 5/29/24 match at SEA), Chang (left ankle injury suffered 5/29/24 at SEA)

Suspended: Crooks (caution accumulation)

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