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Oct 24, 2021 at 10pm UK
AustinAustin FC
2-1
HoustonHouston Dynamo
Maric (7' og.), Driussi (45+4')
Pereira (38'), Driussi (47'), Kolmanic (54')
FT(HT: 2-0)
Cascante (90+2' og.)
Ceren (11'), Vera (74')

Preview: Austin FC vs. Houston Dynamo - prediction, team news, lineups

:Headline: Preview: Austin FC vs. Houston Dynamo - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Sunday's Major League Soccer clash between Austin FC and Houston Dynamo, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Sports Mole

State rivals Austin FC and the Houston Dynamo will face each other for the final time this year on Sunday in the Texas capital.

Both teams are out of postseason contention, with the Verde-and-Black having lost two in a row, while Orange Crush dropped their 13th match this season, 3-0 to the Los Angeles Galaxy.


Match preview

As their inaugural campaign begins to wind down, the things that have haunted Austin throughout the year seem to have returned, namely an inability to score goals.

Until recently, their traditional formation was to line up in a 4-3-3 with manager Josh Wolff reverting to a similar approach employed by USA coach Gregg Berhalter, who Wolff worked under during his time with the Columbus Crew.

That possession-heavy style has seen this expansion side showcase some beautiful interplay, plus some highlight-reel goals, but more often than not, they have put up a goose egg, having been shut out 16 times this year, including in their previous two fixtures.

They tried to add some scoring depth during the previous transfer window, spending a lot of money on a pair of attacking players, and although that helped them for a short time, it seems as though opposing sides have figured out how to shut this team down.

Despite keeping most of their home games relatively close, their lack of team speed is evident, while they have been missing the presence of a strong midfielder who can win balls in those dirty areas of the field.

In their previous two meetings with Houston, Austin have produced mixed results, winning 3-1 at TQL Stadium to open the month of August and then allowing the Dynamo numerous quality scoring opportunities last month, losing 3-0.

If high pressing and effort could earn you points, Houston could be in a postseason position, but unfortunately, you need more than that to succeed in this league.

For a fourth straight year, this team will be watching the postseason from home, and the best that they can hope for the rest of the way is a 10th place finish, which would be two places higher than they finished the 2020 campaign.

They came into the season with a lot of promise, signing one of the best pressing wingers in MLS in Fafa Picault and one of the best pressing strikers in Maximiliano Urruti.

While the two of them have produced offensively, the direct style of play from manager Tab Ramos has not created as many turnovers as he would have hoped for, and that approach has left them vulnerable on the counter, which explains why they have conceded the second-most goals (49) in the Western Conference.

At this point, it is hard to imagine a scenario in which Ramos keeps his job when their season ends as the former American international has failed to turn their fortunes around in his nearly two years at the helm.

If there is a positive for this team moving forward, it could be some of their wide players, like Picault and Tyler Pasher, who have shown flashes of brilliance both offensively and defensively and they both still have long careers ahead of them.

Austin FC Major League Soccer form:
  • L
  • W
  • L
  • W
  • L
  • L

Houston Dynamo Major League Soccer form:
  • W
  • L
  • D
  • L
  • W
  • L



Team News

McKinze Gaines made his sixth consecutive appearance for Austin earlier this week, replacing Moussa Djitte, who has only scored once for the Verde-and-Black since joining them from Grenoble in Ligue 2 in France earlier this year.

Matt Besler has a concussion and is unlikely to see the field again this season, Danny Hoesen remains out with a left hip problem, Aaron Schoenfeld and Ulises Segura continue to miss time with left knee injuries and Ben Sweat is still having issues with his ACL.

Tomas Pochettino, who has been a disappointment in midfield for much of the year, had arguably his best game of the season in their previous home fixture against Houston, scoring twice in the first half, his only two strikes of 2021, while Cecilio Dominguez got the winner on that day, as he leads the team in goals and assists, currently with seven and three respectively.

Michael Nelson made his 10th start in goal for Houston on Wednesday, conceding on three of the five shots that he faced, Sam Junqua earned his 28th career cap for Orange Crush, Tim Parker has appeared in every game this year and Zarek Valentin is one appearance away from 180 in his MLS career.

The Dynamo are missing Nico Lemoine with a right groin strain, while Corey Baird, Mateo Bajamich and Derrick Jones are all expected to sit this one out with lower-body injuries.

Griffin Dorsey scored his first goal of the year in the last meeting between these two sides as the 22-year-old winger has found the back of the net twice this season, with both of them coming within the opening five minutes of play.

Austin FC possible starting lineup:
Stuver; Kolmanic, Romana, Jimenez, Lima; Ring, Pochettino; Dominguez, Driussi, Fagundez; Djitte

Houston Dynamo possible starting lineup:
Maric; Parker, Valentin, Figueroa, Lundqvist; Lassiter, Corona, Ceren, Pasher; Urruti, Picault


We say: Austin FC 2-1 Houston Dynamo

Austin will want to give their loyal fan base something to cheer about before the end of the season, and with their final home game against Sporting Kansas City, this is their best chance to give their supporters one last victory at TQL Stadium, where they have scored seven goals over their previous three games.

The Dynamo are the only team in MLS who have not won a road game this year, and even though this may be their best opportunity, it is clear that their morale is low right now, which is something that Austin can exploit.


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TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
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4New York City FCNY City341491156362051
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Western Conference

TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1New England RevolutionNew England34227565412473
2Philadelphia UnionPhiladelphia341412848351354
3Nashville SCNashville341218455332254
4New York City FCNY City341491156362051
5Atlanta UnitedAtlanta34131294537851
6Orlando City34131295048251
7New York Red BullsNY Red Bulls34139123933648
8DC United34145155654247
9Columbus Crew34138134645147
10CF MontrealMontreal341210124644246
11Inter MiamiInter Miami34125173653-1741
12Chicago Fire3497183654-1834
13Toronto34610183966-2728
14FC CincinnatiCincinnati3448223774-3720
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