Brenden Aaronson had the best possible return to action for Red Bull Salzburg, scoring his fourth goal of the season as they clinched the Austrian Bundesliga title on Sunday with a huge victory.
Red Bull Salzburg 5 – 0 Austria Wien
After missing the last few games due to a minor knee injury, the American international lined up directly behind the front two of Noah Okafor and Karim Adeyemi, and each of this front three scored in the blow-out.
The visitors were never really in the game, holding only 44% of possession, but more tellingly creating no dangerous chances over 90 minutes and being outshot by the league heavyweights by a shocking 24-3 margin.
In his 64 minutes on the field before being replaced by Benjamin Sesko, Aaronson had 30 total ball contacts, completed 15 of 18 passes, created three chances for his teammates, and put both of his shot attempts on-target.
Okafor got things going after only three minutes, picking up a lucky deflection off of Mohamed Camara and striking from six yards out to the lower right corner.
Aaronson broke free on the right for a dangerous run several minutes later, beating one defender and leaving the other stuck in no-man’s land. Having no angle for a clear shot himself, he squared the ball to Adeyemi near the penalty spot, however Wien keeper Patrick Pentz did well to block the German international’s shot.
Okafor then turned provider in the 18th minute, maintaining possession on the right side before picking out Adeyemi at the edge of the box for a shot that took a deflection off of a defender before flying in at the near post.
Luca Sucic made it 3-0 just before the half-hour, finding space between two defenders and storming into the area before targeting the lower-left corner with a precision shot.
Aaronson came close to a fourth for Salzburg with a low shot from the right at the half-hour, but successfully netted his own fourth of the season from the spot eight minutes into the second half.
Marvin Martins upended Sucic as both lunged for a cross. After a VAR review, it was determined that the Wien midfielder arrived just late on the ball, with the result being a penalty awarded to the hosts and a second yellow for Martins.
Aaronson stepped up to the spot and confidently hit his attempt to the lower right corner, sending the keeper the wrong way to secure the 4-0 advantage.
The hosts then added one final goal for emphasis, with Camara sealing his man-of-the-match performance in the 85th minute, nailing his spot kick after Lucas Galvao clumsily knocked over Junior Adamu in the area.
With yet another Bundesliga title wrapped up, Aaronson and the Red Bulls will look toward securing the domestic double when they face SV Ried next Sunday in the final of the Austrian Cup. Beforehand, they will warm up with a league game against Sturm Graz on Wednesday.
Ulysses Llanez started in SKN St. Pölten’s front line and played nearly an hour in their 1-0 road loss to Grazer AK on Sunday.
Thomas Roberts returned to FC Dallas early following his mostly unsuccessful loan at Austria Klagenfurt, and missed their 2-3 home loss to Wolfsberger AC on Sunday.