MLS expansion team Austin FC managed a 1-1 draw against Sporting Kansas City on Saturday, enduring their roughest regular season match yet.
Austin have had a difficult start to their inaugural season, kicking off with a stretch of eight straight road games as their stadium nears completion.
They stand as Major League Soccer’s most recent expansion to take the field after being founded in 2018 and commencing playing in 2021. The draw against Sporting Kansas City leaves Austin with a current record of two wins, four losses and two draws on the road. Head coach Josh Wolff explained tactics are different on the road before commenting on the energy he hopes to maintain at home.
“Going on the road and playing the way we play isn’t easy,” Wolff said. “Today was probably a little more of a defensive posture. But there were the moments that we were able to hurt the opponent, and that’s what we try to do.
“But at home? There’s going to be urgency, there’s going to be excitement, there’s going to be a real drive to go get goals and win games at home because we know that’s where you try to grab as many points as you can. We look forward to that.”
But despite the eight consecutive away performances, Austin FC leaves with a total of eight points, which Wolff finds positive.
“Certainly eight points from eight games on the road, we’re fairly pleased with,” Wolff said on his video press conference after Saturday’s match. “Again, averaging a point per game on the road doesn’t seem amazing, but I know – I’ve been in this league a long time and that’s worthy of something. It’s certainly above average, I would say.
We have a lot of work still to do, but we look forward to getting to Q2 Stadium next week where we get to play in front of our fans for the first time in an amazing venue. We’ll recover from this and look forward to that.”
The biggest surprise has been Austin goalkeeper Brad Stuver, who continuously proves himself as the team’s biggest asset. He kicked off the team’s inaugural season with a tremendous effort and completed many game-saving denials. Austin’s biggest concern lies in the offense as the attackers struggle to find the scoresheet, but Wolff remains confident with Stuver in goal.
“We’ve known Brad for a long time and clearly his performances in these first eight games speak for themselves,” he said. “There’s a way that we want to play, which is utilizing the ball and keeping it and building from the back, and then there is his ability to make saves. I think, more than anything, that’s where I’ve seen him grow and develop.”