Los Nerdes Verdes: Chalk It Up to (Playoff) Experience

Been There Before

Austin FC as a franchise may be new to the playoffs, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have any knockout experience. A number of Austin signings – particularly those made in this offseason – bring with them a wealth of playoff minutes. In fact, thanks to those additions, the Verde & Black actually have more playoff experience than their counterparts from Frisco. When totaling each team’s 20-man roster for the first round of the playoffs, Austin have 4,845 minutes to Dallas’ 3,783.

Austin FC Career Playoff Minutes
Finlay – 902
Felipe- 881
Ring – 736

FC Dallas Career Playoff Minutes
Hedges – 1,380
Lletget – 675
Arriola – 291

A couple of things of note, FC Dallas’ experience is massively concentrated in just a couple of players. The combination of Matt Hedges’ and Sebastian Lletget’s minutes make up 54% of their total. The top two leaders for Austin make up just 37%, so it’s fair to say – top to bottom – the Verde bring with them more experience. 

Dallas’ playoff minute leaders are all likely to make the start for them today, while a larger portion of Austin’s experience comes from the bench. As a whole, Frisco’s bench (if we’re taking last week’s roster as a likely predictor of what’s to come today) contains just 502 total minutes of playoff soccer. On the flipside, Austin has both Felipe (881) and Jiminez (516) available with more experience than Dallas’ bench combined. Last week’s matchup against RSL proved why that’s so valuable. Austin was able to take off their captain in the 82nd minute and be confident that the moment won’t be too big for his replacement. 

From a production standpoint, there’s very little difference between both sides. Every player that has ever scored a playoff goal should be starting for each team going into today.

Austin FC All-Time Playoff Goals
Urruti – 2
Driussi – 2
Finlay – 1

FC Dallas All-Time Playoff Goals
Hedges – 2
Lletget – 2
Quignon – 1

It’s more difficult to quantify defensive ability when looking at aggregate stats across teams, but there’s very little to separate both of these sides.

Last week was the first playoff action for both goalkeepers. Both weren’t required to do much until penalty shootouts – each registering just 2 saves throughout the game. In the penalty shootouts, Paes made just one save while Stuver covered himself in glory. While penalty shootouts are as close to a coin flip as we get in soccer, you’d have to think the preparation and ability of one Brad Stuver would give Austin a slight advantage if it gets that far.