Even though Austin FC is at a similar position points-wise to where they were at this time last year, players’ performances haven’t matched what we were seeing at the start of season two.
This has fans (and even the head coach) remarking on which players are stepping up and who is dropping off. So, we bring you our first-ever post-match player ratings.
Who is Stepping Up?
This season hasn’t started as many of us would have hoped, but it hasn’t been without any players stepping up. Brad Stuver gave us a statue-worthy performance on Saturday. And Stuuuu has been good all season, as he has had to step up with the depleted back line.
Another bright spot has been the output from Jon Gallagher. In addition to his consistency on defense, he leads the team in goals with three. He has been the most dependable player thus far. The last player I’ll add is the captain Sebastian Driussi. Our Argentine playmaker hasn’t been putting up the same numbers as last season, but he is still finding spots to impact the game. Look no further than the through ball he delivered to Gallagher at the beginning of Saturday’s match.
Alex Ring can also be added to this list. A huge question mark loomed for the future of the Finnish midfielder when he was left off the starting lineup in the season opener. But since Julio Cascante went down with an injury, Ring has done a nice job stepping in at center back and making an impact in Cascante’s place.
Photo by @ttlsports on Twitter
Who is Dropping Off?
Now we go to players that we have expected more from after five games.
Let’s start with our new signing Gyasi Zardes. The veteran, who has been in MLS for over 10 years, and has USMNT experience, has yet to score his first goal in Verde and Black. He has been in the right position at times but has failed to find his touch and deliver a goal.
Emiliano Rigoni, who came into the picture late last year, has yet to put the ball in the back of the net in any of his 12 appearances for the club. He oftentimes will be seen in the right place at the right time but has failed in those moments. We need more from Zardes and Rigoni up top if we want to be on pace for 50+ goals.
And lastly, Josh Wolff. Obviously, he’s not a player, but we’re making an exception. The manager has made many questionable decisions with starting lineups, substitutions, and tactics that don’t always utilize the players to the best of their ability. He seemed to get this right way more often than not in 2022. But in 2023, he is missing the mark at times.
Time will Tell
The jury is still out on a few guys in our opinion.
For one, Diego Fagundez has not looked the same this season. We expect the Fagundez we saw in the first two seasons. With a new contract making him the fourth highest-paid player, Josh Wolff and fans expect more in 2023 than what the winger has given. We saw him come off the bench Saturday. This is something many fans did not enjoy seeing, as they let their support be known with a standing ovation for Diego as he took the field in the second half. Fagundez has built a reputation of trust within the fan base, and I don’t believe that has eroded yet.
Owen Wolff didn’t play in this week’s match. He has been good thus far this season. We will just need to see how he improves and matures throughout the season. But there’s a lot to be optimistic about for Teen Wolff, especially paired with Dani Pereira — the two look to have good chemistry on and off the pitch.
Let us know who you think stepped up or dropped off through the first five matches. Leave your own player ratings in the comments below!
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