Real Salt Lake coach Pablo Mastroeni is not getting too frustrated by his side’s form, as he believes the performances are simply lacking one thing – goals.
RSL drew 0-0 with D.C. United last time out, despite having 16 shots and getting eight of those on target. It has drawn in three of its last six MLS games, leaving the team in seventh place in the Western Conference with the regular season drawing to a close.
Salt Lake has scored five goals in its last four matches but none in the last two, and ahead of Wednesday’s trip to out-of-form Austin FC, Mastroeni knows what there is to improve on.
“I think it was a really good performance, the only other thing we could achieve was to score a goal – the hardest thing is to win a game,” he said after the D.C. match. “I think we did enough to earn one, but the ball’s got to cross the line and unfortunately it didn’t show for us.
“Frustration, you don’t get the points, but the only thing you can reflect on is the performance. Did we put ourselves in a position to score goals? Did we do well defensively against a really dynamic, direct team? The answer is yes, to both of those. You can get frustrated all you want but at the end of the day you’ve got to keep working, to find ways, split-second decisions in front of goal and to score goals.”
Austin, meanwhile, has lost its last three games, but are on the brink of club history.
Should it avoid defeat on Wednesday, the team will clinch a place in the MLS Cup Playoffs for the first time.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Austin FC – Sebastian Driussi
Austin has suffered successive 3-0 defeats, meaning Driussi has not contributed to a goal in the last two matches. Driussi has not gone three straight MLS matches without a goal contribution since he joined the league last August.
Real Salt Lake – Jefferson Savarino
Striker Savarino had four of RSL’s attempts against D.C., which led the team, yet he only got one of those on target. That tally will have to improve if RSL is to get back on the goal trail.
KEY OPTA FACTS
– The home side has won all three meetings between Austin and Real Salt Lake, each by a one-goal margin. RSL defeated Austin, 2-1, in Sandy on May 14 with Andrew Brody scoring the winner in the 88th minute.
– Austin has suffered consecutive 3-0 defeats following a loss to the Seattle Sounders on Saturday. The Verde lost by more than one goal just once in their first 28 MLS matches this season, while this is the first time in club history it has lost consecutive games by multiple goals.
– Real Salt Lake has won just three of its last 14 MLS matches following a scoreless draw against D.C. United on Saturday (D6 L5). No team has recorded fewer wins since this run began in late June (tied with four other teams).
– Real Salt Lake has failed to score in two straight games for the second time this season (also on April 17-23). RSL has not gone three straight MLS matches without a goal in over five years, since April-May 2017.
– RSL has scored 38 goals (fourth-fewest in the Western Conference) and allowed 38 (tied for third-fewest in the Western Conference).