The conclusion of Heineken Rivalry Week includes one of the league’s newest rivalries – but also one of its best. The battle for Texas supremacy has always been heated between FC Dallas and the Houston Dynamo, and Austin FC fit right in when it joined MLS last year.
This Saturday’s installment has Austin hosting Dallas at 9:00 pm ET on ESPN+, with various other options available locally.
Austin eyes Copa Tejas at home
Lifting a trophy is always a pleasure, but doing so at home is always that much better. Austin has the advantage of hosting this weekend, and Q2 Stadium’s already raucous atmosphere will be turned up a notch knowing a trophy is waiting in the wings for the winner.
Copa Tejas will live in Austin moving forward if Los Verdes secures either a win or draw. As the club has just one loss at home in nine matches, Dallas will have to do something extraordinary to break its rival’s heart.
A Sliding Dallas
If facing the environment in Austin was not enough, Dallas brings a poor run of form into the contest. Last season the team missed the playoffs but were resurgent this year as homegrowns kept producing and the club finally invested in the roster. The trade for Paul Arriola is a big reason Dallas averages 1.5 goals a game.
But gone are the days when Dallas sat second in the West during the first half of the season. The club is winless in its last six and has just one win in its previous nine. That lone result was May 29 at Orlando, and the last victory over a Western Conference foe was May 14 against the LA Galaxy.
Dallas still sits two points above the playoff line, a welcome improvement from last year. But no one around the club is celebrating, especially since Seattle and Portland have a game in hand. Moving back up the standings often comes down to momentum, and there is no better time to get some than against your in-state rivals.
Austin: Best in MLS?
Yes, LAFC has a game in hand, but Austin is alone at the top of the Supporters Shield race. The club also has an MLS-best goal differential (+18) and would love to widen the gap in both areas this weekend.
A big reason why Austin has been good is the work of Sebastian Driussi, whose 11 goals and five assists lead the team in both categories. The star of the attack has been irreplaceable in Josh Wolff‘s XI, appearing in all 20 of the team’s games, starting 19 of them. Driussi is the man to watch Saturday night, and a 12th goal would also propel him to the top of the Golden Boot race.
Austin is also benefitted by a complete team effort in attack, with its 46 assists far and away the highest in MLS. Having such a complete team effort in the first year removed from expansion speaks to the abilities of the front offset in building a roster, along with Wolff’s tactical prowess.
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