While a goal from Damir Kreilach midway through the second half gave RSL hope of a comeback, Austin were the superior side and could have scored more if not for a strong showing from goalkeeper David Ochoa. The result is a blow to the Audi MLS Cup Playoff hopes for an RSL side that begun Week 29 in fifth place in the Western Conference but with several sides below them within striking distance.
The home side got on the scoreboard first, bringing numbers into the box in the 17th minute, with Sebastian Driussi getting a shot off. Though Ochoa handled that one, Dominguez scooped up the rebound and placed it well to get it past Ochoa for the opener.
Austin looked to get more, involving new striker Moussa Djitte by serving up crosses for him to head goalward; he had attempts in the 32nd and 36th minutes that looked promising, with the latter fizzing just wide. Diego Fagundez took an open shot in the 37th minute that nudged just wide of the far post, and Djitte had a chance in front of goal in the 44th but couldn't get his feet right and the attempt went awry.
RSL, meanwhile, couldn't get their offense going at all, just mustering two shots through the entire first half – none of those on goal.
Austin found their insurance goal in the 55th minute, with Fagundez getting out on a break on the right flank and making a smart pass across the box to Dominguez, who slotted it past Ochoa to land his brace.
But RSL – five minutes after making two offensive-minded subs – pulled one back in the 64th minute. Kreilach took advantage of a pass from one of those subs, Rubio Rubin, and a Julio Cascante fall to get the visitors into the contest.
It looked like Djitte had earned a penalty in the 77th minute, but Video Review reversed it, and the teams played on. Alex Ring very nearly poked in a goal on a Tomas Pochettino free kick, but Ochoa did well to paw it away and give his crew hope for the equalizer. RSL pressed hard in the closing minutes, but couldn't get the goal they needed, and finished with just seven shots compared to Austin's 18.
- THE BIG PICTURE: RSL started the day fifth in the West, and though there was a lot of soccer to be played when the final whistle sounded, this loss could start a great reshuffling of the West standings by the time the Sunday evening matches are played. Austin, meanwhile, played a solid match overall, with a 2.7 xG indicating they left some chances wanting but gritted it out at the end to preserve their lead, which hasn’t always been a 2021 hallmark.
- MOMENT OF THE MATCH: Dominguez’s second goal was the more artistic of the two, but his first one showed that Austin were on the front foot and that their full complement of attackers craved goals.
- MAN OF THE MATCH: Dominguez is now the only Verde player to have appeared in all of their matches, and this might have been his best one, even surpassing his starring role in Austin’s first-ever win back in April.