SANDY, Utah (KXAN) — Austin FC rebounded from Tuesday’s 3-0 CONCACAF Champions League defeat with a 2-1 win over Real Salt Lake in Major League Soccer action Saturday at America First Field.
Austin scored twice in the first half on beautiful long-range strikes by Jon Gallagher and Owen Wolff, even though RSL outshot Verde and Black 16-10 and held 57% of the possession. It was only the second time in RSL’s history they’ve been beaten in their home opener.
“The response from a poor performance in the Dominican was washed away tonight,” Austin FC head coach Josh Wolff said. “There was an incredibly strong performance from a lot of the guys today.”
Gallagher got Austin on the board in the ninth minute with a missile off his left foot from outside the penalty area. Gallagher’s shot beat RSL goalkeeper Zac MacMath to the top-right corner of the goal, clipping the bottom of the crossbar before clearing the line. It was Gallagher’s second goal of the season.
Real Salt Lake tied it up in the 22nd minute with a goal by Justen Glad, but Austin FC answered with another laser into the net from midfielder Owen Wolff in the 33rd minute. Wolff collected a ball from Dani Pereira in a ton of space and he dribbled about 20 yards to set himself up. Once he was comfortable, Wolff wound up a shot from about 25 yards out that beat MacMath to the bottom-left corner of the goal. It was the first MLS goal of the 18-year-old’s career, and along with his dad Josh, the duo became the 8th father and son to score at least a goal in MLS.
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“I’m extremely pleased with Owen for a lot of reasons, and the goal is just part of it,” Wolff said. “We’ve talked about how he needs to be more impactful in the final third, and he did a great job. I’m proud of his overall performance and he’s got a high ceiling.”
In the 41st minute, it looked like RSL was going to play the rest of the match with 10 after the center official issued a straight red card to Damir Kreilach for a bad tackle. However, the official reviewed the replay and rescinded the ejection, lowering it to a yellow card.
Austin FC goalkeeper Brad Stuver made five saves for his second clean sheet of the season. Austin was called for eight fouls to RSL’s five and RSl had eight corner kicks to Austin’s three.
Austin FC (2-1-0, 6 points) now looks to reset and regroup for the second leg in the opening round of CONCACAF Champions League play against Violette AC on Tuesday. In order for Austin to advance in the tournament, they have to win by at least four goals following Violette’s 3-0 win March 7 in Santiago, Dominican Republic. The match kicks off at 7 p.m. from Q2 Stadium.
Verde and Black get back to MLS play March 18 at Houston.