A three-match road swing proved to be no problem for the surging Verde & Black, who picked up all nine points from trips to Charlotte, Colorado, and Atlanta in the last 11 days. The Club is unbeaten in five matches, including four-consecutive away wins, and would leap above Los Angeles FC into first place in the MLS Supporters’ Shield standings with a win over Houston at Q2 Stadium on Tuesday night (kickoff at 8 p.m. CT).

Austin claimed the earlier meeting between the two sides this season, coming back to defeat the Dynamo 2-1 thanks to goals from Dani Pereira and Sebastián Driussi. Another victory would put ATXFC in pole position to claim the 2022 Copa Tejas - with three points against Houston on Tuesday, a win or a draw in the team’s next fixture at FC Dallas on Saturday would see the Verde & Black clinch Lone Star State bragging rights for the year.

Austin FC Outlook

Head Coach Josh Wolff’s side is navigating a busy and tricky stretch of schedule with flying colors. Since returning from the international break in mid-June, Austin has not lost, picking up 13 points from 15 available to put some distance between themselves and the chasing pack in the Western Conference.

Saturday’s 3-0 win over Atlanta was remarkable for a number of reasons. ATXFC became the first team ever to defeat the Five Stripes by a three-goal margin at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, and raised its stellar record against Eastern Conference opponents this season to 6-1-0. The Club leads the league in away wins (7) and away points (22).

It’s a run that has set Austin up well for playoff qualification ahead of its final 15 matches, nine of which are at home. The squad remains humble and hungry though, recognizing there’s still a long way to go.

"The playoffs are a long ways away," said Wolff after the Atlanta match. "We want to keep growing. I think this performance solidifies and validates the work that we’ve been doing all year. And it validates the work that we put in place last year. We’ve got to keep searching for performances like tonight, home and away."

As Austin prepares to return to the comforts of Q2 Stadium, it will look to replicate its pair of home performances against Houston last season, victories by 3-2 and 2-1 scorelines.

Houston Dynamo FC Outlook

Houston appeared to be doomed to a defeat against Dallas on Saturday night, but Teenage Hadebe scored the latest open-play goal in MLS history to salvage a draw for the Dynamo. While the result knocks them out of contention for this year’s Copa Tejas, don’t expect Head Coach Paulo Nagamura’s team to have any shortage of motivation for its rivalry match with the Verde & Black.

The Dynamo will make the short trip west on Tuesday in a rough patch of form, having won just one of their last six and with six losses in eight away games this season. Yet Mexican international midfielder Héctor Herrera is set to provide a massive boost after arriving from Atlético de Madrid.

Herrera made his Houston debut on Saturday as a substitute, playing 35 minutes. He could be in line for his first career start against Austin, who last week made a squad addition of their own in the form of winger Washington Corozo.

Houston is currently five points below the playoff line, and Herrera will aim to help a talented core - which includes Sebastián Ferreira, Darwin Quintero, Fafà Picault, and Adalberto Carrasquilla - push toward the postseason. With both Austin and Houston having only 72 hours rest between their last games and this one, squad rotation (or lack thereof) could be a key theme in deciding Tuesday’s outcome.

Probable Houston Dynamo FC Lineup

(4-3-3, R-L) - GK: Steve Clark; Zeca, Daniel Steres, Teenage Hadebe, Adam Lundqvist; Matías Vera, Héctor Herrera, Adalberto Carrasquilla; Fafà Picault, Sebastián Ferreira, Thor Úlfarsson