Austin FC II heads back on the road to Starfire Stadium for their second consecutive away match of the 2023 MLS NEXT Pro Playoffs. The Verde & Black will face Tacoma Defiance in the Western Conference Semifinals on Sunday, October 8 at 9 p.m. CT.
Austin and Tacoma split the season series with each team earning a win on their home turf. Austin FC II won the first contest at home on April 12 thanks to two late goals in the final 10 minutes from Alonso Ramírez and Christo Vela. In the second meeting on June 25, Braudilio Rodrigues’ penalty kick in the 32nd minute gave the Defiance the 1-0 victory.
Austin FC II Outlook
The Verde & Black advanced to the second round of the MLS NEXT Pro Playoffs after winning 2-0 against third-seeded Sporting KC II last Friday night. David Rodríguez scored the first goal in the 52nd minute, while Alonso Ramírez scored the second from the penalty spot in the 86th minute to secure the victory for ATXFC II.
Austin continued with their strong defensive play from the regular season and managed to keep Sporting KC II from scoring. Damian Las, who was named MLS NEXT Pro Goalkeeper of the Year after setting a new league record of 12 clean sheets during the regular season, made four saves to achieve his first playoff clean sheet.
Austin now heads to Starfire Stadium, where the Defiance have been strong with nine wins during the regular season. ATXFC II will aim to continue their strong defensive form and hold Tacoma scoreless for just the second time all season.
Tacoma Defiance Outlook
During their second season in MLS NEXT Pro, Tacoma Defiance finished the regular season with a 14-6-9 record, earning them a total of 57 points. Defender Abdoulaye Cissoko was the lone player from Tacoma to be voted into the MLS NEXT Pro Best XI, as his five goals were the second-highest among all MLS NEXT Pro defenders. Tacoma scored 57 goals during the regular season, ranking third among Western Conference teams.
In the first round of the Western Conference Playoffs, Tacoma secured a 4-3 victory over Houston Dynamo 2. Tacoma scored three goals within the first 20 minutes, with Braudilio Rodrigues scoring a brace just six minutes apart before the 20-minute mark.
Tacoma remained unbeaten in their three home matches in September. During that stretch, they outscored their opponents 10-5. Defiance hasn't lost a home match since August 13, when they were defeated by Colorado Rapids 2 by a score of 3-1.
How to Watch
The match will be available to watch on the Apple TV app to MLS Season Pass subscribers.