Austin FC-Dynamo Preview

Sports

Austin FC head coach Josh Wolff defended his management style ahead of his team’s visit to the also-struggling Houston Dynamo.

The two bottom sides in the Western Conference meet Saturday at BBVA Stadium, with MLS newbies Austin winning the reverse fixture 3-2.

The visitors had struggled in front of the goal, scoring in just three of their previous 14 matches before a current four-game run, and have won just two of their last 11 across all competitions.

Wolff has been praised by new signing Moussa Djitte for his welcoming management style, but some remain unconvinced as to whether this is the best approach.

Asked for his thoughts on his managerial style, Wolff responded defensively.

“That can always be asked. I think when we’re in training and we have meetings, I think these guys understand I can be candid,” he said. “I make my points known critically and quickly.

“Our ability to work and compete, to be disciplined and hard to break down, we have been doing that, there has been a lot of good recently.”

The Dynamo are on the longest winless run in a single season in MLS history, having gone 16 games without a win after last week’s 2-0 loss to Portland.

Coach Tab Ramos missed Houston’s game against Minnesota United on Aug. 28 and was only able to watch the Timbers clash from the stands, a factor in which he has struggled with before the arrival of state rivals Austin.

“It’s difficult for me not being on the sideline. I like being next to the players, on top of the players and talking to them,” Ramos said post-match. “Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to do that and my coaching team have done a good job, I’ve just been a little more nervous when I’m not there as I’d rather be there myself.”

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Houston – Fafa Picault

Picault has contributed to five of the last eight goals Houston has scored. The forward is one goal away from matching his second highest regular-season total in MLS.

Austin FC – Sebastian Driussi

Driussi has the third-highest goal contribution for Austin (five) despite debuting in August. In fact, the forward has been involved in four of his side’s last five goals ahead of the clash with the Dynamo.

KEY OPTA FACTS

– Austin FC recorded a 3-2 win over Houston in the first-ever meeting between the sides, played in Austin on August 4. The Dynamo are winless in seven straight games against expansion sides, including losing five of the last six.

– The Dynamo’s 2-0 loss to Portland made it 16 straight games without a win (D8 L8), the longest single-season winless run in MLS history. There have been only two longer winless runs in MLS history, 18-game streaks by both RSL from August 2005 to May 2006 and Colorado from July 2014 to April 2015.

– Austin FC has managed to find the net in four straight games for the first time in the club’s MLS history. Austin scored in just three of its previous 14 matches before this run of goals in four straight games.

– The Dynamo and Austin FC are the only two teams in MLS that have not had a goal scored by a substitute this season. Last year, Houston got eight goals from its bench, tied for third most in the 2020 regular season.

– Driussi has been involved in four of Austin FC’s last five goals (2 goals, 2 assists). Despite debuting for the club in early August, Driussi has five goal contributions (2 goals, 3 assists), third-most on the team behind Cecilio Domínguez (9) and Diego Fagundez (7).

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