Austin FC midfielder Tomas Pochettino (7) tries to disrupt Real Salt Lake forward Bobby Wood (7) as he pushes the ball toward the goal as Real Salt Lake and Austin FC at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy Utah on Saturday, Aug. 14, 2021. RSL leads at the half 1-0. (Scott G Winterton, Deseret News)
SANDY — The goal was only exceeded by the celebration — and equaled by the win.
Bobby Wood scored his second goal of the season in his fifth start, and Real Salt Lake snapped a three-match winless skid with a 1-0 win Saturday night over the shorthanded expansion side Austin FC in front of 17,506 fans at Rio Tinto Stadium.
Zac MacMath made one save to keep the shutout for RSL (6-6-6, 24 points).
The 28-year-old Wood finished with one goal on one shot, a 50% passing accuracy and 11 duels won with one foul conceded before coming off for Rubio Rubin in the 73rd minute of play with the match-winner.
— Major League Soccer (@MLS) August 15, 2021
His team might have had another, too, but for some superb goalkeeping by Austin’s Brad Stuver. The 30-year-old net minder made seven saves for the visitors, including a diving touch against Maikel Chang in the 80th minute that kept his team down just 1-0.
Wood gave the hosts an early lead, rising up in the 32nd minute to head home Joni Menendez’s cross for the 1-0 advantage. The former U.S. international smashed the ball from the center of the box inside the top left corner, finishing off RSL’s fourth shot on goal of the night with the edge just over the half-hour mark.
It was the first goal for Wood since July 24, and a feat only superseded by his celebration — wandering to the front row to give his 2-year-old daughter Ella a kiss while his wife Ditte held her up for daddy.
Julio Cascante drew a second yellow card and was ejected less than five minutes into the second half, forcing Austin FC (4-10-4, 16 points) to finish the match with 10 players.
This story will be updated.