Austin, Texas (Sunday, October 16, 2022) – Real Salt Lake fell to Austin FC in penalty kicks in Round 1 of the 2022 Audi MLS Cup Playoffs, ending the Club’s 2022 season. Forward Sergio Cordova scored an early brace, but a second-half red card saw RSL playing with only 10 men for the final 44 minutes of regulation and the 30 minute extra time. The depleted side was unable to overcome the second-seeded Austin FC.
In the First Round of the Audi 2022 MLS Cup Playoffs Real Salt Lake broke out to an early lead in the third minute when Andrew Brody sent a curving cross to the head of Sergio Cordova. The Venezuelan forward rose up over his defender, flicking the ball backwards across the face of goal past goalkeeper Brad Stuver and into the bottom left corner for the 1-0 lead. Austin FC looked to quickly respond when Alex Ring took a shot on target, but goalkeeper Zac MacMath made easy work of wrapping it up.
Real Salt Lake doubled its lead in the 15th minute when Maikel Chang crossed a ball in towards goal, bouncing off the arm of Austin defender Jhojan Valencia. Upon video assisted review the Claret-and-Cobalt were awarded a penalty kick and Cordova stepped up and slammed home his shot from the penalty spot. Cordova nearly secured himself a hat trick in the 28th minute, but his attempt skipped to the right of the goal post.
The home team was able to cut the deficit in half in the 31st minute when Diego Fagundez crossed a ball in towards the head of Sebastian Driussi, who sent it past MacMath and into the upper right corner of goal. Austin continued to throw numbers forward, looking for the equalizer, but the Verde and Black were unable to thread the needle on Real Salt Lake’s stout defense, giving RSL the 2-1 advantage heading into the halftime break.
Coming out of the halftime break Austin nearly equalized when a ball skipped through the penalty box unmarked, but Daniel Pereira’s close-range shot soared over top the crossbar. Moments later Jefferson Savarino stormed down field looking for a goal of his own, but his rocketed shot was saved by an outstretched Stuver. In the 53rd minute Rubio Rubin was shown his second yellow of the game for making Austin’s goalkeeper, leaving Real Salt Lake to play the remainder of the match with just 10 men. With numbers on their side, Austin continually pestered Real Salt Lake’s backline, putting the entirety of the Claret-and-Cobalt on their back heels. During the six minutes of extra-time, Austin FC was awarded a penalty on a handball by second-half substitute Scott Caldwell. Driussi placed his shot from the spot into the bottom-left corner to equalize the game. RSL was unable to respond in regulation, pushing the match into overtime.
At the start of extra time, Austin FC kept up the pressure, nearly finding the net twice in the opening seven minutes. Driussi looked to have taken the lead in the 97th minute but the goal was called off due to a handball. MacMath kept the game alive for RSL shortly after when he made a diving save on Felipe Martins low-shot from about 35 yards away.
In the second frame of extra time break, the home side continued to be on the attack, firing shots from all over the pitch but a stout RSL defense held off the breakthrough. Real Salt Lake nearly took the lead on a counter attack in the 111th minute by midfielder Jasper Loffelsend and defender Andrew Brody. Loffelsend played a perfectly weighted ball to Brody forcing Stuver to come off his line. Brody’s sliding shot went just wide of the post to keep the game level. Just moments later, Driussi looked to have secured the hat trick and the lead after netting a bouncing ball in the box on a cross from Zan Komanic. The goal was called back as forward Moussa Djitte was in an offside position as the ball was being played into the box. MacMath continued his heroics as the extra time came to a close, making a number of game saving stops to push the match to penalty kicks.
In the penalty shootout, Real Salt Lake fell to Austin FC 3-1, ending the Club’s postseason hopes.
UP NEXT: Real Salt Lake will move into its offseason program to prepare for the 2023 MLS season.
GOAL SCORING SUMMARY:
RSL: Sergio Cordova (Andrew Brody, Pablo Ruiz) 3rd minute: From the middle of the field, Ruiz switched the field to find Brody on the far left side. Receiving the pass, Brody drove in towards the 18-yard-box before hitting a curving cross into the center of the box. Cordova made a run to the near post, jumped and flicked a header to the bottom-left corner to open the scoring.
RSL: Sergio Cordova (PK) 15th minute: Chang hit in a low cross that went off the arm of Valencia inside the box. After not being called a penalty originally, referee Victor Rivas pointed to the spot after a VAR review. Cordova stepped up to the penalty mark and buried the penalty into the bottom-left corner to secure the brace.
ATX: Sebastian Driussi (Diego Fagundez, Ruben Gabrielsen) 31st minute: With a quick build up into RSL defensive third, Fagundez hit a curling cross just over the head of defender Justen Glad, connecting with Driussi. Driussi headed the ball past MacMath and into the top-right corner to cut the lead in half.
ATX: Sebastian Driussi (PK) 90+4th minute: After a controversial handball called on Caldwell, Driussi stepped up to the spot and buried the penalty into the bottom-left corner to push the match into extra time.
- Bobby Wood (abductor), Aaron Herrera (calf), Diego Luna (ankle) and Damir Kreilach (back) were unavailable due to injury.
- The Round 1 2022 Audi MLS Cup Playoff match marked RSL’s fourth postseason appearance in the last five years. Additionally, RSL is one of only two teams in the Western Conference to appear in the 2021 and 2022 postseasons, the other being Minnesota United.
- Forward Sergio Cordova’s two goals in the first 15 minutes marked the first time in Club history Real Salt Lake has scored twice in the opening 15 minutes.
- Forward Rubio Rubin became just the fourth player in RSL history to earn a red card in a playoff match, joining Javier Morales (2010), Everton Luiz (2011) and Aaron Herrera (2021). RSL has not won during the playoffs when they have received a red card.
Match: Real Salt Lake vs Austin FC
Date: October 16, 2022
Venue: Q2 Stadium; Austin, Texas
Weather: Sunny and 80 degrees
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F PKS
Real Salt Lake 2 0 2 1
Austin FC 1 1 2 3
RSL: Sergio Cordova (Andrew Brody, Pablo Ruiz) 3’
RSL: Sergio Cordova (PK) 15’
ATX: Sebastian Driussi (Diego Fagundez, Ruben Gabrielsen) 31’
ATX: Sebastian Driussi (PK) 90+4’
Real Salt Lake (4-4-2): Zac MacMath; Andrew Brody, Justen Glad, Marcelo Silva, Bryan Oviedo (Tate Schmitt 73’); Maikel Chang (Nick Besler 59’), Pablo Ruiz (Scott Caldwell, 83’), Braian Ojeda, Jefferson Savarino (Bode Hidalgo 73’); Sergio Cordova (Jasper Löffelsend 59’), Rubio Rubin
Subs not used: Tomas Gomez, Danny Musovski, Justin Meram, Anderson Julio
Austin FC (4-3-3): Brad Stuver; Ruben Gabrielsen, Jon Gallagher (Zan Kolmanic 64’), Julio Cascante, Nick Lima; Jhojan Valencia (Daniel Pereira 46’), Sebastian Driussi, Alex Ring (Felipe 82’); Ethan Finlay (Emiliano Rigoni 46’), Diego Fagundez, Maxi Urruti (Moussa Djitte 46’)
Subs not used: Jhohan Romana, Hector Jimenez, Andrew Tarbell, Owen Wolff
Stats Summary: RSL / ATX
Shots: 11 / 38
Shots on Goal: 4 / 11
Saves: 9 / 2
Corner Kicks: 2 / 14
Fouls: 11 / 11
MISCONDUCT SUMMARY:RSL: Rubio Rubin (caution) 19’
ATX: Alex Ring (caution) 41’
RSL: Justen Glad (caution) 45+4’
RSL: Rubio Rubin (ejection) 53’
RSL: Scott Caldwell (caution) 90+3’
Referee: Victor Rivas
Assistant Referees: Corey Parker, Jeffrey Greeson
4th Official: Fotis Bazakos
VAR: Chris Penso