DallasPreview

Austin FC returned from the international break with one of its most impressive victories to date, triumphing 1-0 on the road over an in-form CF Montréal team despite playing the entire second half with 10 men. The win helped the Verde & Black keep pace near the top of the Western Conference, where they sit just three points behind leaders LAFC.

Next up for ATXFC is a Saturday night match with significant ramifications for both the MLS and Copa Tejas standings, against rivals FC Dallas in front of what is expected to be an amazing atmosphere at Q2 Stadium. In addition to MLS action, fans are invited to stick around after the final whistle to watch the Special Olympics Unified Teams from Austin FC and FC Dallas take the field for a 60-minute match.

Austin FC Outlook

After its gutsy win in Montréal, Austin FC now has four away victories already under its belt this season. Head Coach Josh Wolff, defender Jon Gallagher, and goalkeeper Brad Stuver all earned MLS Team of the Week honors for their performances, with captain Alex Ring also putting in a strong shift for the Verde & Black. It was Wolff's third Team of the Week selection this season, most of any coach in MLS.

Saturday’s match is crucial as the team’s only MLS home match in a seven-week stretch. The fact that the match is against Dallas, a rival who ATXFC struggled against last season, makes it feel all that much more important.

“We have a lot of unfinished business with FC Dallas,” said Stuver. “Last year they won Copa Tejas, they came into Q2 Stadium and we didn’t respond in the best way. They got the better of us here at home and that still sticks with a lot of us.”

A victory over Dallas on Saturday would move Austin five points clear of their in-state rivals, and see the Verde & Black take up an excellent position atop the 2022 Copa Tejas standings. With both teams already owning wins over Houston Dynamo FC this season, whoever emerges victorious at the weekend will be in the driver’s seat to claim this year’s fan-awarded trophy, which goes to the team with the most points from intra-Texas matches.

FC Dallas Outlook

Dallas started its 2022 season red-hot, losing only once through its opening 11 matches. The team has hit a bit of a rough patch in form as of late though, losing three out of their last four. Still, the overall strength of FCD’s results has Head Coach Nico Estévez’s side in fourth place in the Western Conference, two points back of the Verde & Black.

The team’s attacking corps boasts two of the top goal-scorers in MLS: U.S. internationals Jesus Ferreira (nine goals, four assists) and Paul Arriola (seven goals, two assists), who combined have scored two-thirds of Dallas’ goals in league play this year. It’s a stingy side defensively too, with its 15 goals conceded the fewest of any Western Conference club.

The battle on the touchline may prove to be as intriguing as the one on the pitch promises to be. Estévez and Wolff coached together as assistants both with the U.S. Men’s National Team and the Columbus Crew, and that familiarity may impact how each approaches Saturday’s pivotal contest.

Probable FC Dallas Lineup

(4-3-3, R-L) - GK: Maarten Paes; Ema Twumasi, Matt Hedges, Jose Martinez, Marco Farfan; Paxton Pomykal, Facundo Quignon, Brandon Servania; Jader Obrian, Jesus Ferreira, Paul Arriola