Friday, July 12, 2024

Real Salt Lake v Austin FC: Mastroeni says fortune favours the brave

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 1 Jun 2024

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Pablo Mastroeni believes Real Salt Lake’s mindset has been the key to their long unbeaten run, which they will look to extend to 13 matches when they host Austin FC on Saturday.

RSL made it 12 MLS games without defeat in dramatic circumstances on Wednesday, as Andres Gomez scored nine minutes into stoppage time in a 1-1 draw with the Seattle Sounders.

Salt Lake remained two points clear of LA Galaxy at the top of the Western Conference with what was their third straight comeback, following a 5-3 win over the Colorado Rapids and a 3-3 draw at FC Dallas – who had led by three goals.

“I think one of the things we pride ourselves on is being a team that shows a strong mindset,” Mastroeni said this week.

“You can use it in all aspects of life, it’s five per cent what happens to you and 95 per cent how you react.

“Unfortunately, in the last few games, we’ve found ourselves on the wrong side of the scoreline, and it’s really easy to put your head down when things aren’t going your way.

“There’s this belief within the group that, regardless of what’s happening, we’re going to stay in it, we’re going to keep our heads and not quit. Fortune favours the brave.”

Austin are seven points behind RSL in fifth, though their momentum has stalled in recent weeks.

Since recording back-to-back wins over Houston Dynamo and Sporting Kansas City, Josh Wolff’s team have played out a 1-1 draw with the San Jose Earthquakes and been beaten 2-0 by the Portland Timbers.

To make matters worse, that latter match saw forward Sebastian Driussi suffer an injury that is expected to keep him out for several weeks.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Real Salt Lake – Andres Gomez

Gomez has contributed to at least one goal in five straight league matches, becoming the second Real Salt Lake player to do so this year after Cristian Arango (six).

This is the first time since 2016 (Joao Plata and Yura Movsisyan) that multiple RSL players have had a run of five or more games with a goal contribution in the same season.

Austin FC – Gyasi Zardes

Zardes’ importance could be heightened after Driussi suffered a muscle injury during Austin’s midweek loss.

He is yet to score in 16 MLS appearances this season, though only three have been starts.

MATCH PREDICTION – REAL SALT LAKE WIN

The visiting side won both meetings between Real Salt Lake and Austin last season, including a 2-1 win for the Verde at America First Field in March.

The six regular-season meetings between the sides have been split evenly, with each team winning three times.

However, RSL are favourites here, having gone unbeaten in 12 straight league games to equal the second-longest streak in their history.

Since the start of 2019, the Sounders are the only MLS team to record a longer run, going 13 unbeaten to start the 2021 campaign.

OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

Real Salt Lake – 60.3%

Austin FC – 18.9%

Draw – 20.8%

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

SoccerNews

Soccernews.com is news blog for soccer with comprehensive coverage of all the major leagues in Europe, as well as MLS in the United States. In addition we offer breaking news for transfers and transfer rumors, ticket sales, betting tips and offers, match previews, and in-depth editorials.

You can follow us on Facebook: Facebook.com/soccernews.com or Twitter: @soccernewsfeed.

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