Austin FC: A few thoughts heading into week 5 of the MLS season

Week 4 has come and gone and the Verde Boys currently sit at 2-2 and 8th place in the West. Despite a .500 record, Austin has demonstrated a potent offence, one that can create chances and score goals at any given moment. Over the first three matches, expectations for the team rose from bottom of the table to playoff contender. After Sunday’s 2-1 loss to Sporting KC, the hype should dampen as it is evident that they still need to work on a few things. Overall, Austin’s start to the campaign has been very strong and much better than what was first anticipated. Heading into Week 5, here are a few thoughts to keep in mind as we continue to watch them grow.

 

Gallagher over Hoesen

Sunday against SKC was the first match that Josh Wolff opted to start Jon Gallagher instead of Danny Hoesen. Results were good as Gallagher nabbed his first goal of the season. The Irish international may not necessarily be better, but his style of play is more suited to Wolff’s tactics. Hoesen wants to join in on the build up but Wolff and GM Reyna envision their number 9 as someone who stretches the field and tries to get in on chances inside the penalty box.

 

Jared Stroud the Starter

The Colgate graduate started his first few games on the bench and was brought on as a super sub. It seems that his play had impressed head coach Josh Wolff, earning the start over Redes these past two games. Not only can Stroud stretch the field with his pace, but he can also deliver the ball into the box with great accuracy. Hopefully last weekend’s magical assist to Gallagher was only a preview of things to come.

 

Biggest concern thus far

Sunday’s loss was underscored by the sending off of beloved Captain Alex Ring. He aggressively tried to intercept a pass down the middle and was shown a second yellow.

Austin had a hard time dealing with SKC’s press. Ring was at the centre of all those encounters since he was the anchor and nullifying him meant that Kansas City could control the game.

Coping without him this Saturday will be the biggest obstacle Austin has faced thus far. Sebastian Berhalter was brought on during the SKC game to play a similar role but perhaps Daniel Pereira could be the one to replace Ring for the time being.

Either way this team needs to stop losing the ball in their own half, SKC would constantly win it back and were basically playing offence on a shorter field

 

Looking at LA Galaxy matchup

The Galaxy’s Chicharito is riding a hot streak this season, he has already recorded 6 goals and 1 assist in four games. The Galaxy are currently sitting third in the Western Conference thanks in large part to number 14’s contributions.

The Mexican International has classic poacher instincts. Like his opening goal against LAFC, he has the ability to quickly score after recovering a messy ball. This puts pressure on Austin FC, who have lost their fair share of possession in their own half – leading to more scoring chances for the opposition.

If Austin FC does not clean up this aspect of their game, Chicharito could surely make them pay.

 

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