Austin FC Revitalized?
Pre- and post-Driussi Austin FC look like entirely different squads going forward. In fact, in the stretch of games since the playmaker was first included on the team sheet back in August, ATXFC’s goals per game sits at 1.22. Admittedly, that’s not blowing the doors off the MLS, but it would be good for 17th in the league and is a 40% improvement from the games before Druissi took the field.
The end result is certainly important. As Austin (and unfortunately the fan base) can attest to, it’s tough to earn points let alone win games when you can’t score. But, what may be more interesting is how we got here. Since the game against FC Dallas back in August where the Argentinian made his debut off the bench, the number of shots per game has dropped slightly and the expected goals have stayed relatively stagnant. What does seem to be happening is that the players on the field are converting their chances at a much higher rate. That speaks to the quality of those on the pitch improving and more specifically that the right players are getting themselves into position to score and are being fed the ball.
Sebastian Driussi is the Real Deal
The stats show that the addition of Driussi has elevated the team’s attacking capabilities, but it’s important to look at the individual accolades as well. Afterall, there are countless reasons why a change in the lineup could be improving the team, outside of just the contributions of one player. While freeing up the likes of Dominguez and Ring to play their more natural positions is valuable, it’s hard to ignore the specific impact that Driussi has made to the team and his comps show it.
When compared to other Attacking Midfielders and Wingers, he’s in the top quartile in goals, assists, and shot-creating actions — basically the perfect antidote to Austin’s earlier inability to create good chances. Another, possibly surprising, statistic is how he stacks up in interceptions. At 1.16 per 90 minutes played, he comes in at the 76th percentile among comparable players. He’s putting in the effort, stopping opposition transition offense, and winning the Verde & Black more high-quality possession. It’s easy to see, then, why the relentless midfielder captained the team against the Galaxy.
We hope to be able to make a similar post about Djitte as well, and early signs point to that being the case. His hold up play looks fantastic, and he’s been able to turn that into opportunities for his teammates or on goal. If his match fitness continues to improve along with his chemistry with his new teammates, opposing defenses will have to worry about him for a long time.
Unfortunately for ATXFC fans, that chemistry may take some more time to build as, according to Jorge Iturralde at Club Deportes Sports, Driussi, Djitte, and Fagundez didn’t make the trip up to Denver for the midweek clash against Colorado. Instead, the Austin lineup will likely look more similar to the squad that fell 0-1 to a strong Rapids side back in July. Will the emergence of McKinze Gaines provide some consistent dynamism in the attack that had been lacking pre-Driussi?