The last time the Verde & Black played, they fought back to earn a 1-1 draw against Seattle Sounders FC, and were perhaps unlucky not to come away with all three points after recording a club record 21 shots. After a two-week break, Austin FC returns to action against the San Jose Earthquakes this Saturday night (6:30 p.m. CT).
Last season, ATXFC played San Jose three times: a 0-0 draw in the first-ever MLS match at Q2 Stadium in June, followed by a pair of defeats to the Quakes later in the season. Head Coach Josh Wolff's side is much improved since then and will be hungry to prove that they’re a different team this year.
Austin FC Outlook
It’s been a solid start to the season for Austin FC, as the Verde & Black picked up seven points from the first four-match set before the international break. Blowout home wins over FC Cincinnati and Inter Miami CF displayed a rejuvenated attack, and the team showed it can compete with the best in MLS in both a narrow away loss to Portland and a hard-fought draw with Seattle.
The match with San Jose is the first of five MLS matches for Austin FC in April, a stretch in which points will be paramount as the standings begin to separate. The Club currently boasts the most goals (11) and best goal difference (+8) in the league, with players at both ends of the pitch contributing to the fast start.
Offensively, Sebastián Driussi and Diego Fagundez have been key drivers of production. Between them, Driussi (three goals, two assists) and Fagundez (one goal, three assists) have played a part in all but four of ATXFC’s goals thus far this season. Fagundez’s equalizer against Seattle was his 61st career MLS goal, moving him into a tie with LAFC’s Carlos Vela for 11th among active players.
At the back, Nick Lima, Žan Kolmanič, Julio Cascante, and Brad Stuver each started every match thus far, while new arrivals Kipp Keller and Ruben Gabrielsen have split responsibilities as they acclimatize to the league. Austin FC is one of only eight MLS teams to allow less than one goal per game through its opening four contests.
San Jose Earthquakes Outlook
The Quakes didn’t start the season in the way Head Coach Matías Almeyda would have hoped. San Jose is one of four remaining winless teams in MLS, and its nine goals allowed are tied for most in the Western Conference.
The California club was held scoreless in each of its last two matches, but like last season, is still capable of wreaking havoc on its opponent at any given moment. Look no further than the team’s 3-3 draw with Columbus for proof, when a 10-man Quakes team overcame a two-goal deficit in the final six minutes plus stoppage time.
If the Verde & Black hope to improve upon last year's results against San Jose, they will need to contain Javier “Chofis” López, who scored three times against Austin in 2021.
PayPal Park is familiar territory for three members of the Austin FC squad, with defender Nick Lima, goalkeeper Andrew Tarbell, and forward Danny Hoesen all having spent time with the Earthquakes earlier in their careers.
Probable San Jose Earthquakes Lineup
(4-2-3-1, R-L) - GK: JT Marcinkowski; Paul Marie, Francisco Calvo, Jackson Yueill, Marcos López; Jackson Yueill, Ján Gregus; Cristian Espinoza, Chofis López, Jamiro Monteiro; Jeremy Ebobisse