Real Salt Lake-Austin FC Preview

National Sports

Damir Kreilach insists he has no issues with going under the radar as the 32-year-old aims to propel Real Salt Lake into the playoffs.

Kreilach, typically a more defensive midfielder, has been let off the leash this season, scoring 12 goals and adding six assists.

His efforts have helped RSL head into the run-in in fifth place, and he scored and then assisted Anderson Julio’s sensational last-gasp winner against LA Galaxy in midweek.

Kreilach, however is unconcerned about how much recognition he gets outside of RSL.

“It’s hard to say (if I get enough recognition), you know? I try to stay humble, as long as the team is happy, I’m happy too,” Kreilach told MLSsoccer.com.

“This is how I want to go. If it’s about individuals, I’d pick another sport. I’d play tennis. But I like to be around my team-mates, there’s no better feeling in the locker room after a win. It’s something special.”

Next up fro Kreilach and RSL are Austin FC, who lost 3-0 to Colorado Rapids last time out.

Coach Josh Wolff, however, was left lamenting a first-half penalty call that went against his team, with the referee failing to award Austin a spot-kick for a seemingly blatant push on McKinze Gaines.

“If we score that (penalty) and go up 1-0, then it changes everything, and maybe we walk out of here with a 1-0 win,” Austin midfielder Jared Stroud said.

“The official didn’t give much of an explanation. That’s kind of how it’s been all year with us. We have to look inside and blame ourselves and not the refs.”

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Austin FC – Cecilio Dominguez

Cecilio Dominguez has been directly involved in a third of Austin’s 27 league goals in 2021 (nine – five goals, four assists).

Real Salt Lake – Damir Kreilach

Kreilach has scored a goal in each of his last three appearances. It’s the third time he has scored in three consecutive games in his MLS career (also in May-June 2021 and August-September 2018), but he is yet to score in four games in a row.

KEY OPTA FACTS

– RSL won its first match against Austin, 1-0, on August 14 at home. RSL has won its last three matches against expansion sides (including playoffs) after recording just one win in its previous six games against MLS newcomers (D1 L4).

– Austin suffered a 3-0 defeat to Colorado in midweek and has conceded at least three goals in four of its last seven games, after not conceding more than two goals in any of its first 20 games in MLS.

– RSL has lost six of its last seven games away from home (W1), conceding at least three goals in five of those seven games.

– RSL lost, 6-1, in their most recent away game against Portland, its heaviest away defeat since March 2019 against D.C. United (5-0).

– Austin’s Dominguez has not contributed to any goals in his last five appearances, his joint-longest drought in MLS play (also five in May 2021).

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