Coming off a narrow loss to LAFC to open up a three-game homestand, Austin FC faces a quick turnaround before returning to action this Saturday night against the San Jose Earthquakes.
The two teams met earlier this season in the first-ever game at Q2 Stadium on June 19, and despite ATXFC outshooting and out-creating the Quakes on that day in front of a rocking home crowd, the match ended in a scoreless draw. With both sides in respective ruts at the moment and in need of points, Saturday’s contest is sure to offer plenty of excitement.
Austin FC Outlook
The Verde & Black may not have found the result they were looking for on Wednesday night against LAFC, but still put in a much-improved display from last weekend’s 3-0 away defeat to Houston Dynamo FC. For the rest of the season, the aim for Head Coach Josh Wolff’s side will be to start consistently turning promising performances into points.
“We can extrapolate some good things but at the end of the day, we’ve got to find what it is that wins us games,” said Austin FC defender Nick Lima following the defeat to LAFC. “That’s what matters, that’s what gets you up in the table, and that’s what keeps people behind you and guys together and teams together. We’re continuing to try to find a way to be on the opposite side of the scoreboard.”
One reason for optimism is a recent uptick in the team’s scoring output. After a stretch in July and early August which saw ATXFC held scoreless in 5 of 6 games, the team has now found the net in all but one of its most recent six games. Diego Fagundez has been particularly prolific, scoring three times in that span to bring his season’s tally to a team-high six goals.
Expect to see some squad rotation from Wolff on Saturday, with the team playing its third game in seven days.
San Jose Earthquakes Outlook
The Earthquakes are also coming off a midweek matchup, having lost a 4-3 thriller to Real Salt Lake on Wednesday night. Despite the defeat, San Jose midfielder Javier López put in an excellent shift, scoring a hat trick to bring his season’s total to eight goals.
San Jose sits 11th in the Western Conference, eight points ahead of Austin FC and six points below the playoff line. The team is currently on a three-game winless run, but has oddly fared better on the road than at home this year. The Earthquakes have picked up 15 points from 12 away matches, compared to 12 points from 12 games at PayPal Park.
Matias Almeyda’s side hasn’t done quite so well on its travels to Texas though, drawing twice and losing once in three visits to the Lone Star State so far this season.
In addition to López, Austin’s defense will need to be mindful of San Jose winger Cristian Espinoza, whose six assists this season are tied for 10th-most in MLS.
Probably San Jose Lineup
(4-2-3-1, R-L): GK: JT Marcinkowski; Luciano Abecasis, Tanner Beason, Oswaldo Alanis, Marcos López; Judson, Eric Remedi; Javier López, Jackson Yueill, Cristian Espinoza; Cade Cowell