Major League Soccer

Earthquakes-Austin FC Preview

Josh Wolff says the mood in the Austin FC camp is relaxed ahead of their long-awaited first match at the Q2 Stadium.

Los Verdes spent the first two months of the season playing on the road and collected eight points from their opening eight fixtures.

However, with coronavirus restrictions in the state easing, up to 20,000 supporters are expected at Austin's sparkling new ground for Saturday's visit of San Jose Earthquakes.

It marks another new chapter for the expansion club, and one that head coach Wolff is relishing.

"It's a big moment for us... I expect it to be bumping," he said. "As a first-time coach, you only get one first home game.

"There's a noticeably more relaxed energy on the back of a good result against Sporting and a day off.

"This game has been talked about a lot. We're very much looking forward to it. It's an impressive venue, and it's a difficult opponent, but the guys will respond well."

Austin have drawn their last two matches to move up to 10th in the Western Conference, one point behind their upcoming opponents.

The Quakes are on a four-game losing run, failing to score in three of those, but they will be looking to spoil Austin's homecoming party this weekend.

"It gives us a lot of pleasure to play there and I personally have a lot of admiration for them," head coach Matias Almeyda said.

"I think they quickly formed a good team with very good players. From what we've seen, the stadium looks nice.

"The main focus will be the return of soccer matches with fans and family in attendance."

Austin FC - Cecilio Dominguez

Dominguez wrote his name in Austin FC folklore by netting a brace in his side's first ever victory, coming against the Colorado Rapids two months ago. He went scoreless in Los Verdes' next five matches, but that run came to an end with his goal to earn his side a 1-1 draw at Sporting Kansas City last week.

San Jose Earthquakes - Jackson Yueill

Yueill featured a few times for the United States during the international break, but the midfielder insists he is ready to slot straight back into the Quakes' starting line-up. He has been a key player in the engine room this term alongside Eric Remedi and will be eager to make a point after being dropped for his national side's clash with Mexico.

- San Jose has struggled against expansion sides over the last decade, winning just three of 13 meetings against MLS newcomers (D5 L5). The Quakes have won just one of their last seven away matches against expansion sides, a 1-0 win at Minnesota United in 2017.

- This will be Austin FC's first home match in the club's MLS history. Only three of the last 13 teams to join MLS (since 2009) have lost their home opener: Atlanta United and Minnesota United in 2017 and Nashville SC in 2020.

- San Jose has lost four straight matches, scoring just one goal in that time. The Earthquakes had won their previous three league matches, finding the net nine times in those games.

- Each of the last 13 teams to join MLS (since 2009) have scored in their first-ever home match in the league. The only three expansion teams to fail to score in their home openers were the Miami Fusion in 1998, Chivas USA in 2005 and Toronto FC in 2007.

- Only Sporting Kansas City (19.6) has a higher xG than San Jose (15.3) in MLS this season. The Earthquakes have scored 11 times, as the 4.3 negative G-xG difference is the second-worst mark in the league (Chicago -6.1).

Updated June 18, 2021

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