Brenden Aaronson added a few more million to his price tag in Salzburg’s nervy win over Rapid while Thomas Roberts had an extended run-out as a sub in Klagenfurt’s draw.

Rapid Vienna 1 – 2 Red Bull Salzburg 

Salzburg was clearly the better side in their comeback win on Friday, having more than twice the possession, and taking nine shots in comparison to Vienna’s three.

The American spark plug Aaronson was deployed at center midfield again, and showed well for himself. He was a persistent threat and heavily involved in the attack throughout the match.  

In the 12th minute, Aaronson picked up a through ball on the left side of the penalty area, beat two defenders, and released a pass to Nicolas Capaldo. Capaldo fed Rasmus Kristensen who slotted it home, but the goal was overturned after VAR review because Aaronson was offside when receiving the ball.  

Five minutes later it was Vienna’s turn, and they made it count. Jonas Auer put a well-placed free kick into the box, and Filip Stojkovic rose up and met it with a powerful uncontested header. Salzburg keeper Philipp Kohn could only watch as it flew past him and into the net.  

Even playing down a goal, Salzburg had the lion’s share of chances for the rest of the half. Capaldo and Aaronson each missed from distance, and Karim Adeyemi put a shot wide from the center of the box. Three minutes into stoppage, Red Bull man Maximilian Wober’s left-footed shot was on target only to be blocked, and they would go into halftime down by one. 

It wouldn’t be until the 62nd that either team would have any clear chances in the second half, but the shots would come in quick succession. That was when Salzburg’s Karim Adeyami had a header saved, and Marco Grull had a left footer from distance go wide. 

Keeping the pressure on, Aaronson was finally the man to get one past Vienna’s Paul Gartner only two minutes later to equalize.

Noah Okafor beat his man on the dribble down the flank and pulled his left-footed cross straight to the center of the box. The American didn’t need to settle, and with his first touch guided the ball cleanly inside the near post to tie it up 

Salzburg continued to dominate, and were able to break the deadlock in the 77th with a clever near post finish by Noah Okafor, after Junior Chukwubuike Adamu found him right in front Gartner.  

Okafor’s goal was enough to lock it down for Salzburg who went on to win. They are now 14 points clear at the top of the Austrian League table. They’ll hope to bring the momentum into their midweek Champion’s League matchup when they will host Bayern Munich.

LASK 2 – 2 SK Austrian Klagenfurt 

American 20 year old center midfielder Thomas Roberts subbed on in the 63rd minute for fourth-place Klagenfurt, who got a point on the road against ninth-place LASK 

Coming into the game, Klagenfurt were looking to shake off their recent Austrian Cup quarter-final defeat.  

LASK struck first when Marko Raguz headed Marvin Potzmann’s cross into the bottom left corner in the 12th minute. Chances generally favored LASK, but the score remained the same when Roberts replaced Christopher Cvetko in midfield with about half an hour to play.

As soon as he came on, Peter Michorl of LASK was shown a second yellow and sent off.  

A man up, Klagenfurt pulled even ten minutes later when Markus Pink linked up with Thorsten Mahrer in the box, who put it away from close range. 

LASK went up again with a 76th minute goal on Branko Jovicic’s right footed shot into bottom left corner. 

Roberts tried to get on the scoresheet in the 83rd minute, but his low right-footed shot was saved. Klugenfurt got a lifeline when regulation time was expiring, though.

Kosmas Gkezos drew a foul in the penalty area, the referee pointed to the spot, and Turgay Gemicibasi put it into the bottom right corner.

Gemicibaşi got some more attention with a straight red card after eight minutes of stoppage, but the final whistle blew and the 2-2 score remained. 

Klagenfurt will be frustrated with only a point after playing for 30 minutes against a ten-man side. They remain solidly in the top six, which is where they want to be in order to play for a Champions League spot. Next week, Roberts will hope to get more minutes, and for his team to get three points when they host last place Altach. 

By Dan Whelton

Dan is a statesider living in Connecticut. He was a latecomer to obsessing about the beautiful game, with the spark coming while watching the US play into the quarter finals in 2002. That fire was fanned when he married into a football-centric French family, full of eternal football souls. When he's not coaching the youth teams of his two children, he loves watching and discussing the continued development of the sport in this country, and of the players that represent the U.S. on teams all over the world.

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