Aspirations are high as Austin FC kicks off its third MLS campaign. On the other side, expansion club St. Louis CITY SC will play its inaugural MLS regular season match.
The Verdes are looking to get the first win of 2023 under their belt in the season opener, putting last year’s spectacular 2022 season that ended in the Western Conference Finals firmly in the rearview mirror.
Knowing the kind of momentum a fast start brings, Head Coach Josh Wolff will expect nothing less than a dominant shutout on Saturday. Fans and soccer journos will likely be comparing the outcome of this game to last year’s 5-0 thumping over FC Cincinnati that kicked off the club’s 2022 season.
Austin has never played St. Louis CITY SC.
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Austin vs. St. Louis Kickoff
St. Louis is the newest expansion team in MLS, making its historic debut after being awarded the franchise in 2019.
Head Coach Bradley Carnell comes from the Red Bulls organization. At NYRB, he was an assistant coach starting in 2017 and was later named interim head coach in September 2020, before stepping back into the assistant role in 2021.
Look for him to employ the same high-pressing tactics with St. Louis, ready to pounce on any mistakes made by Austin’s build-from-the-back system.
Carnell has brought in some recognizable names that will be exciting to see, starting with the club captain—and former Borussia Dortmund goalkeeper—Roman Bürki. The Swiss shot-stopper signed with STL back in March 2022 and joined the club in July after the completion of Dortmund’s season.
Two other names to know are designated players João Klauss, a Brazilian striker, and Eduard Löwen, an experienced midfielder from Bundesliga side Hertha BSC.
Of course, we can’t forget to mention a Verde favorite, winger Jared Stroud, who was acquired from ATX in exchange for $100K in GAM at the end of last season.
You can’t read too much into preseason friendlies, but here’s how St. Louis City fared against other MLS clubs this winter.
Let’s be clear, this is the first-ever competitive fixture for St. Louis and expectations are low. Most MLS soccer pundits have them picked to finish at the bottom of the Western Conference. Those same experts rank Austin in the top tier of the West (Likely for fear of being laminated!) but have openly expressed doubts the club can rekindle its blistering goal-scoring pace of 2022.
Sorry doubters, it’s goals-galore for Austin in this one. Q2 Stadium will be bathed in green light on Saturday night.
Austin FC – 3
St. Louis CITY SC – 0
Odds: Austin -185 and St. Louis City SC +450. A draw is priced at +320.
Although defender Julio Cascante recently posted a nasty cut to the head on social media after he took a cleat from goalkeeper Brad Stuver, he’s not on the injury report.
- OUT: CJ Fodrey (Quad)
How to Watch Austin FC
Austin FC will play St. Louis City SC at Q2 Stadium—7:38 p.m. (CT) kickoff on Saturday, Feb. 25. Gates open at 6:00 p.m. The first 10,000 fans to enter will receive an Austin FC scarf.
- Tickets: SeatGeek (Use code CAPCITYSOCCER for $20 off your first purchase.)
- Streaming: MLS Season Pass on Apple TV (Free)
- Radio: iHeart Radio’s KASE-FM (Alt 97.5) and TUDN Radio Austin (104.3)
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