Austin FC vs. Houston Dynamo Pick & Prediction MAR 18th 2023

Stadium: BBVA Compass Stadium Houston
Logo Austin FC
Logo Houston Dynamo

2.5o -132



Now in their 18th MLS season, the Houston Dynamo are off to their first-ever 0-2-0 start, and they will face out for a difficult home opener against rival Austin FC on Saturday.

It's the first Texas Derby match of 2023, and the Dynamo are coming off two weeks of practice since a 3-0 loss at New England on March 4. Houston opened the season with a 2-1 defeat at FC Cincinnati on Feb. 25 and had a bye in Week 3.

"We've had plenty of time to work on ourselves and make sure we utilize this bye week to get better and prepare for a very good team in Austin," Dynamo coach Ben Olsen said. "It's very clear who Austin is and how they go about winning games. They're well-coached. They've got weapons."

Austin (2-1-0, 6 points) has won its past two MLS games and recorded a 2-0 victory Tuesday over Haitian side Violette -- although that win could not keep the Verde from being eliminated from the CONCACAF Champions League (3-2 aggregate loss in the Round of 16).

Saturday's match in Houston will be Austin's fifth in a span of 18 days.

"We're two years into our build and we've got growth that needs to continue to happen, development that needs to continue to happen," Austin coach Josh Wolff said. "In these moments we have to show resiliency when it's needed. We have to move on and obviously get back and get focused on the weekend. We play an in-state rival and we have to freshen up."

Austin, last year's Western Conference runner-up, bounced back from a home loss to St. Louis City on opening night with wins at home against CF Montreal on March 4 and on the road at Real Salt Lake on March 11.

Against RSL, Austin won 2-1 behind the first career goal of 18-year-old midfielder Owen Wolff. Wolff, Josh's youngest son, also had an assist on a goal by Jon Gallagher.

Austin has beaten Houston in the past three meetings and has won four of the five all-time matchups.

The Dynamo's only goal this season was produced by defender Tate Schmidt off a corner kick by team captain Hector Herrera.

--Field Level Media

Austin FC vs. Houston Dynamo Recap MAR 18TH 2023

Amine Bassi converted a penalty kick, Hector Herrera added a late insurance tally and goalkeeper Steve Clark shrugged off a first-half injury as the Houston Dynamo FC defeated visiting Austin FC 2-0 on Saturday in the first Texas Derby match of the season.

Bassi was good from the spot in the 71st minute after Austin defender Adam Lundkvist was whistled for a hand ball in the penalty area. The call was verified by VAR.

Herrera then turned around a pass from Griffin Dorsey in the 86th minute and beat Austin keeper Brad Stuver low to his left to allow the Dynamo (1-2-0, three points) their first win of the year.

Clark stopped five shots, four in an Austin barrage early in the match, to earn his first shutout of the year and the 51st of his 10-seaon MLS career.

The match was the fifth in 15 days for Austin FC (2-2-0, six points). Included was a home-and home with Violette AC that ended with its elimination from the CONCACAF Champions League with a 3-2 aggregate loss in the Round of 16 tie.

The loss snapped a two-game MLS winning streak for Austin, which just ran out of gas in the second half.

There were scoring chances aplenty in the first half, but neither team could find the net. Austin was the aggressor early on as Emiliano Rigoni's left-footed shot from the right side of the box in the 11th minute forced a save by Clark. A minute later, Maximiliano Urruti hit the right post with a header from the center of the box.

Then in the 21st minute, Clark saved a shot by Rigoni at the bottom-right corner, and 12 minutes later, Clark pushed away a header by Jon Gallagher.

Houston's best two chances to score in the first half came in the waning moments, as Herrera was turned away by Stuver in the 42nd minute and Bassi ripped a shot from the left side of the box that was saved.

--Field Level Media
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