Surging Austin FC will carry a four-game winning streak north up I-35 to face FC Dallas in a Texas Derby match Saturday in Frisco, Texas.
Copa Tejas, the competition between Texas’ three MLS teams, is in the balance, with Austin holding a two-point lead in the race heading into Saturday.
Austin beat Houston 3-1 on Tuesday to sweep the season series from its Lone Star State rival. Austin and Dallas played to a 2-2 draw on June 25. The Verde came back from a 2-0 deficit in the final 20 minutes to earn their first-ever point against Dallas.
Tuesday’s win allowed Austin to equal its longest winning streak in club history. Diego Fagundez, Maximiliano Urruti and Alex Ring scored Austin’s goals as it stormed back after conceding a goal early in the match.
Austin (12-4-4, 40 points) jumped into first place in the Supporters’ Shield standings.
“We’ve talked all year about being within striking distance to have a home playoff game, and I would say we’re in that,” Austin winger Ethan Finlay said. “And I think right now what we’re doing is we’re continuing to add wins to our tally, and we’ll see how that turns out come fall.”
Dallas’ most recent outing was a 1-0 loss at home to New York City FC on Wednesday, a setback that stretched its winless streak to six matches. Dallas outshot NYCFC 12-4 in the loss but just placed one shot on goal, matching its season low.
Dallas (7-6-7, 28 points) hasn’t won at home since beating Seattle May 7. It has gone 0-3-1 at home since, producing points only with a 1-1 draw against Inter Miami.
The Texas Derby is important for Dallas, but right now just getting back on a winning track is the larger focus.
“Every game is very important. We have a need right now,” Dallas head coach Nico Estevez said. “We get in positions to win games, but we are lacking that need and desire to win the games. Every game we are knocking that door and getting closer.”
“Against Austin we will always play for the win. We were close whenever we played over there in their field. We know they are a team on a good run but we will be ready to battle.”
Dallas needs to get more from Jesus Ferreira and Paul Arriola, who were both named to their first MLS All-Star game. Ferreira has scored 11 goals, tied for second in MLS, while Arriola has tallied eight, surpassing his previous career best of seven.
–Field Level Media