Thursday, May 23, 2024

​Austin FC v Houston Dynamo: Olsen reveals ´tough conversations´ as derby looms

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 15 May 2024

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Ben Olsen had to hold a few “tough conversations” to get the Houston Dynamo out of their slump, with Saturday’s Texas derby at Austin FC offering them the chance for back-to-back wins.

The Dynamo approached Saturday’s trip to Sporting Kansas City both winless and goalless in three MLS matches (one draw, two defeats), while they were also dumped out of the U.S. Open Cup by Detroit City FC.

However, goals from Hector Herrera and Ibrahim Aliyu handed them a 2-1 road win and lifted them into the top seven of the Western Conference – above Austin by a single point.

Speaking ahead of Wednesday’s grudge match against a team that won the reverse fixture less than a month ago, Olsen credited his players for coming through a tough patch.

“I think some people were questioning us, and we’ve had a few tough conversations, particularly with the U.S. Open cup knockout. This was just a really good response,” he said.

“We have to figure out when we are at our best, to think, ‘who are we, at our best?’

“It was our defensive effort that we hung our hat on last year, so it’s a bit of a renewed feeling of that being there.”

Austin, by contrast, were on a run of four wins in six games before they were beaten 2-1 by another Texas rival in FC Dallas on Saturday.

Despite that reverse, centre-back Julio Cascante has praised the defensive work done by coach Josh Wolff, with Austin looking far more competitive than was the case in their dismal 2023 season.

“Despite everything, we’ve worked very hard on the defensive side,” Cascante said.

“Emphasis has been placed on the defensive side, but defending is done as an entire team. It starts with the number nine. I think that makes the difference.”

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Austin FC – Sebastian Driussi

Driussi scored a consolation from the penalty spot at Dallas on Saturday, his third goal of the season in eight MLS starts.

Only Diego Rubio, who has started three additional games, has matched that tally for Austin this year. The Argentine will be looking to carry his team’s attacking hopes again here.

Houston Dynamo – Amine Bassi

Bassi recorded his third assist of the season by teeing up Hector Herrera’s 31st-minute strike against Sporting on Saturday.

All three of Bassi’s assists have come on goals from outside the box this season – Houston’s only three strikes from outside the penalty area.

MATCH PREDICTION – AUSTIN FC WIN

Houston have won three of their first five road matches this year, having only recorded more than three regular-season away wins in one of the last 10 campaigns, winning four times on their travels in 2022.

However, Austin have won all four of their previous home matches against Houston, netting multiple goals in each contest. The Dynamo are one of two teams – alongside Kansas City – that Austin have hosted more than once while posting a 100 per cent record.

Austin have also won three straight at home after only winning once in their previous 10 outings at Q2 Stadium. Back on home soil after Saturday’s derby loss, they will expect a different result.

OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

Austin FC – 44.9%
Houston Dynamo – 26.9%
Draw – 28.2%

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

SoccerNews

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