Dynamo-Austin FC Preview
There is little but pride resting on Sunday's Texas derby between Austin FC and the Houston Dynamo, though that will not stop either set of players giving their all.
Houston's slim playoff hopes were ended by a 3-0 defeat to the LA Galaxy last time out, while Austin sit five points back, propping up the Western Conference.
It has been a difficult first season in MLS for Austin, who have won seven games, drawn our and lost 19. Houston, on the other hand, have won just six times, though have drawn on 12 occasions.
With disappointing seasons coming to a close, the teams might be forgiven for slacking off. However, both sets of players will be doing nothing of the sort.
"Even though we're out of it, we have to honour the badge we play for, we have play for the city, the team, the organization," said Houston's Adam Lundkvist.
"Even though we're out, we've got plenty to work for, individually and collectively, it's a marathon, not a sprint. What we're doing here is something that takes patience. It sucks right now, but we have to move forward, that's the only way we can keep looking up."
Diego Fagundez has enjoyed a solid enough debut campaign with Austin - the former New England Revolution midfielder netting six times. He too, is determined to take the derby bragging rights.
"Everybody needs to put this game behind us and focus om the derby that's coming up," Fagundez said after Austin's 4-0 defeat to the San Jose Earthquakes.
"It's going to be a fight. We're trying to give our fans everything, for them to leave happy."
Austin FC - Sebastian Driussi
Sebastian Driussi had a game-leading six attempts in Austin's defeat to San Jose, though only got two of them on target.
Houston Dynamo - Fafa Picault
Fafa Picault has enjoyed taking part in Texas derbies, with his only two multi-goal performances since the start of the 2019 season coming with Dallas against Houston last season and with the Dynamo against Austin on September 2.
- Both sides have won their home match against the other, with Austin recording a 3-2 win on August 4 and Houston winning, 3-0, at home on September 11. The 3-0 win was the largest margin of victory for the Dynamo in over a year, since recording a 3-0 win over Minnesota United at home on September 2, 2020.
- Austin suffered its 19th loss of the season on Wednesday at San Jose. Another defeat would make Austin the fourth expansion side to lose at least 20 times in its inaugural season, joining FC Cincinnati in 2019 and Real Salt Lake and Chivas USA in 2005 (all 22).
- Last season was the first time in Houston's 15 MLS campaigns that it finished averaging less than one point per match (0.91 - 21 points in 23 games).
- With 30 points in 31 games so far this season (0.97), the Dynamo are on pace to do so for a second consecutive year.
- Tomas Pochettino has just two goals on a team-high 62 shot attempts for Austin FC this season. His conversion rate of 3.23 percent is the lowest among any of the 50 players to attempt at least 50 shots in MLS this season.
Updated October 23, 2021