Los Nerdes Verdes: Money Talks?

Shake Your Moneymakers

Between offseason acquisitions and contract negotiations, we knew there’d be a shakeup in the Austin FC books, but because of MLS rules, we didn’t know by how much… until now. The MLS Players Association have released their 2023 roster data, and with some data cleaning from Caleb Queern (@HttpSecHeaders on Twitter), we took a look at who is over and underperforming their current salary hit.

Some high level salary data: Austin FC have the 5th-largest player budget in the league, and Driussi’s six mil guaranteed makes him the 5th-highest paid player. 

While FotMob’s player ratings is by no means perfect, there aren’t many single data points out there that attempt to capture the whole of a player’s performance. Comparing them to salary does paint a helpful picture. 

Austin FC players salaries and footman ratings

With a start that even he would describe as disappointing, Driussi is still leading the squad in average FotMob rating. The other two DPs aren’t performing horribly either. While fans want to see more of Rigoni on the score sheet for his price point, he’s played quite well in moments, and his season rating is slightly above the team average. Ring has to be applauded for how he’s performed playing completely out of position.

Austin are getting incredible value out of their two young midfielders, Pereira and Wolff. The Verde’s leading goalscorer Jon Gallagher continues to well and truly earn his pay even after a recent salary increase.

The underperformers are well known at this point. Despite flashes in the pan, just 3 goals and 1 assist along with too many very poor games are dragging down scores for Zardes, Urruti, and Fagundez. With those three carrying the three largest salaries outside the DPs, Austin must start to see production from them to feel like their budget is being well spent. 

The Matchup

In many respects, Austin and Houston have had similar starts to the season. Around the same mark in goals per game (ATX: 1.02, HOU: 0.92) and points per game (1.23 vs 1.25). The underlying numbers, however, show an advantage for Austin. The Verde & Black’s -2.3 xGD is nothing to write home about, but it pales in comparison to Houston’s -6.2 which is the 2nd-lowest in the West and 4th-lowest in the league. 

Austin FC vs Houston stats

Over Houston’s last six league matches, they’ve averaged just 0.63 xG which would see them last in the league by far. 

If we were strictly looking at league play, you’d have to say that Austin were coming in with more momentum. In the midweek, while Austin was putting up one of their least inspiring matches of the season in a 2-0 loss to Chicago, Houston was smacking Minnesota four nil. Minnesota United’s 38th minute red card played a substantial part in that drumming. Whether or not it is an indication of Houston’s momentum is debatable, but it does mean that they likely come into tonight’s matchup with less fatigue.

This is Austin’s first match that counts towards the final Copa Tejas standings. How confident are you in the Verde & Black coming away with a result?

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