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Previewing Houston Dynamo vs Austin FC with Jason Poon of Verde City Limits

We talked to Jason Poon of Verde City Limits to get some insight on Austin FC ahead of this weekend’s match.

MLS: Austin FC at Houston Dynamo Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

The Houston Dynamo continue the Texas portion of the schedule as they welcome Austin FC to PNC Satdium on Saturday afternoon. To help us get some insight on this weekend’s opponent we spoke to Jason Poon of Verde City Limits.

Dynamo Theory (DT): Maxi Urruti spent a year in Houston and most fans were ok with seeing him leave. What has made Urruti such a good fit in Austin early on this season?

Verde City Limits (VCL): I’m sure the Houston fanbase enjoyed Urruti early on (6 goals in the first 11 games of 2021), but as y’all experienced and so did Dallas and Montreal - Maxi is very streaky. His history suggests he’ll come out at the beginning of the season like a toddler who just woke up on Christmas morning. But after the initial excitement, Urruti tends to wear himself ragged with his relentless running and then we see long stretches without a goal from him. Right now, we’re seeing something similar where Urruti has 4 goals in 8 games for Austin.

He does seem to thrive off of having another Argentine playmaker playing behind him (e.g. Mauro Diaz at FC Dallas) and he’s getting that same support from Sebastian Driussi. Let’s see how Urruti fits with Austin come June and July and if he’s still hits that mid-season slump.

DT: Austin has surprised some people in getting off to a hot start this season. What has led to the team being so successful early on in 2022?

MLS: Vancouver Whitecaps FC at Austin FC Scott Wachter-USA TODAY Sports

VCL: Funny enough, Maxi. Austin went basically until late August in 2021 without a healthy striker on the roster. In this league you might be able to get by 3-4 games without one, but that long of a stretch doomed Austin’s ability to create any significant goal scoring opportunities, much less goals in the process. Urruti vibes well with his teammates anywhere he goes, and he’s also a healthy body. A slump in Austin’s form is coming, but the team at least has three strikers to choose from, so it may not be a long one.

With the addition of Urruti, it’s also made positions and responsibilities more clear for the rest of the roster on the field. Last year there was a lot of imbalance coming from the midfield and the pieces, for whatever reason, just didn’t work. There’s more definition to Alex Ring’s role, to Dani Perreira and also to Diego Fagundez who stated he doesn’t really know what he’s supposed to do out there last year but run after the ball.

DT: Austin also has a number of MLS veterans who have plugged into their lineup and played well for this season. What has been behind their success, is it a fit tactically in Josh Wolff’s system or what is causing guys like Diego Fagundez, Nick Lima, etc to play so well this year?

VCL: It’s a giant combination of multiple factors - but I would argue the strongest one has been the support and acceptance from the coaching staff and the city. Fagundez is universally adored in Austin. I’d say he and Brad Stuver are the top two. Psychologically knowing you’re wanted and beloved here does wonders to your confidence. I’d even throw in Julio Cascante into the mix as he’d been more of a backup defender but has cemented himself as a starter for ATX.

But it all kind of points to getting Urruti. Once he arrived, everything kind of fell into place and with better understanding of their roles, everyone can start playing to their strengths. I’ve been watching Urruti closely since 2014 so I’d be foolish to not expect a slump to come soon. When it comes, how will Wolff react, and will Danny Hoesen and Moussa Djitte be ready to carry the load?

We want to thank Jason for giving us some information about Austin FC. Best of luck this weekend!