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Scouting Report: Is Austin FC ready to spoil the summer for FC Dallas?

The expansion side has a couple of wins away from home but will that matter?

MLS: Houston Dynamo at Austin FC Scott Wachter-USA TODAY Sports

My apologies, friends, for not posting mid-week for the Seattle game. The day job is impinging on my soccer time at the moment. But let’s take a look at Austin FC as we await our first regular season MLS match against our new rivals. The new kids from central Texas enter this match with a record of 4W-4D-8L – good for 16 points and 12th in the West. Most recently they bested Houston on Wednesday night after dropping three in a row. The last time we played a team that on paper was weaker than us, we walked away with a draw. Let’s hope that our recent string of positive results continues on Saturday.

Recent Results

Date Home Score Away
Date Home Score Away
7/1 Austin FC 4-1 Portland
7/7 Austin FC 0-2 LAFC
7/22 Austin FC 0-1 Seattle
7/31 Austin FC 0-1 Colorado
8/4 Austin FC 3-2 Houston

First, after opening the season with a long but fairly successful road trip, Austin has played their last six matches at home, so this trip to Dallas is their first road game in several weeks. Also, the result against Houston included a red card against the visitors that gave Austin an advantage for about 70 minutes. Tomas Pochettino received MLS player of the week honors with two goals and Cecilio Dominguez added another.

However, despite scoring seven goals in their last five matches, Austin was held scoreless in three of them. To their credit, they also only gave up seven goals in those five matches. They rank in the top ten in Goals Against and have only conceded one penalty kick on the season. Despite not keeping a clean sheet, their defense (and Brad Stuver in particular) has kept them in the matches. They’re beatable –but they won’t beat themselves.

The Numbers

Austin FC Stats Dallas
Austin FC Stats Dallas
13 Goals For 21
18 Goals Against 25
6740 Passes Completed 6698
3118 Passes in Opponents’ Half 2709
211/65 Shots/Shots on Target 216/75
150 Key Passes 150
-4.11 (Stuver) G-xG for Keepers .83 (Maurer)

Keep in mind that Austin has only played 16 matches and yet they still lead Dallas in terms of passes completed – this is a team that takes care of the ball. However, as even head coach Josh Wolff concedes, they have struggled to score. Recent signing from Zenit St. Petersburg Sebastian Driussi may be available for selection on Saturday, but he has only this week been available to train. In goal, Brad Stuver is besting every keeper in MLS who isn’t Andre Blake.

Keys to the Match:

1) Keep the Faith: after results against the LA Galaxy, Sporting KC, and Seattle, Dallas can’t afford to relax against Austin – and it’s easy to understand how a team could have a mental letdown when we feel like we should win. But we’re at home, and we need to finish business. Let’s keep the front four intact and attack Austin’s backline. If Hedges is ready for a start – great. If he’s only ready for a longer sub appearance – ok. The defense has been holding the last couple of weeks.

2) Cecilio Dominguez leads Austin with four goals. Four. It just emphasizes what everyone knows about Austin – which is that they struggle to score. DP signing Tomas Pochettino has two goals and they both came last week. If I’m Josh Wolff, I’m putting Driussi in because Austin needs goals. Even more recent signing, McKinzie Gaines is unlikely to participate. If I’m Luchi, I’m preaching patience because Austin just hasn’t been dangerous.

3) Like FC Dallas, Austin is playing their third game in eight days (this seems such a common refrain of late). Dallas is a deeper team and should take advantage of that depth. Let’s use our subs. Keep the midfield fresh. Obrian should have chances late.

Projected Line Up: 4-1-4-1

Cecilio Dominguez

Tomas Pochettino - Sebastian Berhalter – Diego Fagundez - Rodney Redes

Alex Ring

Kolmanic – Matt Besler – Cascante - Jimenez

Brad Stuver

Injury Report:

OUT: Aaron Schoenfeld (left knee). Ulises Segura (left knee), Ben Sweat (ACL), Danny Hoesen (left hip)

QUESTIONABLE: McKinze Gaines (left adductor strain), Daniel Pereira (left rectus abdominis strain)