Los Nerdes Verdes: Succeeding and Seceding

Copa Tejas Check-In

A slow start in the league sees Austin behind Dallas and Houston in the table as well as most statistical categories. Maybe even more surprising than Austin’s 12th place standing in the West is Houston currently running the race ahead of both their Texas counterparts. Whether that’s going to hold up the rest of the season remains to be seen. The underlying stats, while close, suggest that FC Dallas and Austin might be closer than they appear in the rear view.

It’s worth remembering that, despite the fact that Austin plays both Texas teams three times, Dallas and Houston will only meet twice. That asymmetrical schedule means that only the first two matchups will count towards Copa Tejas.  

In the first two years of the midseason cup, each winner was either in the lead or tied for the lead after the first round of games. Two early wins from Houston means that this game is quite literally a must win if the Verde & Black want to hold onto their only piece of silverware.

The Matchup

As Jesus Ferreira goes, so does Dallas. The American forward has scored in every one of their four wins this season. Conversely, Frisco are a distressing 0-3-3 when he doesn’t get on the scoring sheet. Ferreira’s not going to be helped by the fact that an injury to Paul Arriola will significantly hamper his ability to facilitate from the center of the field. With Dallas’ injury issues, we’ll see how they look to build in the attack, but we know that Ferreira’s preference is to drop deep to get as many touches on the ball as possible. The good news for Austin is that their recent transition into a three CB look matches up against that playstyle nicely. In theory, the addition of another strong on-ball defender will allow the Verde to pressure the Dallas striker more aggressively without as much concern about leaving other defenders high and dry in behind. 

Another welcome sight is the absence of Diego Fagundez on this weekend’s injury report. We’ll have to wait and see just how many minutes the team feels comfortable giving him, but it’s difficult to imagine a better player coming off the bench if he can get anywhere close to his 2022 form. 

Austin must start to convert moral victories into actual victories if they’re going to make moves towards the playoff positions. It’s hard to think of a better way to really kick the positive momentum into high gear than the club’s first ever regular season victory against their rivals to the north. Listos!