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This Thursday will be the first-ever meeting between Austin FC and the Portland Timbers.
Heading into the mid-week match, Portland will be licking their wounds after narrowly losing 1-0 at home to Minnesota United last Saturday.
That said, the Timbers have actually looked decent in recent weeks. The defeat was just their second in their last six, and they seem to be making gradual progress since early June.
Which is much more that could be said about Austin.
Growing pains are expected for a new MLS franchise, but Austin have undoubtedly failed to stop their growing list of dilemmas.
The Texan club are winless in their last eight matches and are currently in second-to-last place in the Western Conference. Austin have questions to sort out. Pick Portland for the win.
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|Austin FC vs Portland Timbers Information|
|Teams||Austin FC vs Portland Timbers|
|Location||Q2 Stadium (Austin, Texas)|
|Time||Thursday, July 1st at 9:30 pm ET|
|How to Watch||FS1, Fox Deportes|
By the first week of May, it was easy to buy into hopes regarding Austin.
Regardless of the fact that they had just made their MLS debut, they looked promising with two wins in their first three matches.
Then came the winless streak.
Following a 2-1 loss on May 9th to Sporting Kansas City — which included a red for midfielder Alex Ring — Austin have now yet to clinch a victory in their last eight appearances.
Unfortunately for them, their goalscoring has also dried up with only a measly total of two goals from those eight matches.
Austin are in trouble, and although Portland earned a defeat of their own last weekend, there’s reason to believe that the Oregonian roster is starting to gain some ground.
The Timbers were unlucky to walk away with a loss against Minnesota last Saturday.
After allowing a goal in the 2nd minute, Portland quickly bounced back with a total of 22 shots — 17 of which emerged in the 2nd half.
In spite of Timbers goalkeeper Steve Clark helping keep this battle close, Portland created a significant amount of dangerous chances that should have led to a goal or two.
Portland were satisfactory in the defeat, and given a goal, they would have been undefeated in their last three matches.
And at the very least for them, they haven’t struggled for long periods of time with scoring…
It has been dismal (to say the least) to watch Austin’s attacking efforts. As mentioned earlier, they only have two goals in their last eight matches.
No clubs in MLS have scored fewer goals than Austin so far, and were it not for the heroics from Brad Stuver in net, things could be much worse for the squad.
Manager Josh Wolff has his work cut out for him.
Barring some sort of performance from Cecilio Dominguez in which he helps carry the squad — which would need to be combined with another great game from Stuver — Austin should have more problems this week.
Who will step up in the attack? And more importantly, who will find the back of the net?
It’s a small sample size, but it’s a disappointing one.
In their two games they’ve had at home, Austin have yet to score or earn a win.
Although they didn’t lose, both of their matches at Q2 Stadium have ended in scoreless draws against the San Jose Earthquakes and Columbus Crew.
Against the Crew last Sunday, players like Diego Fagundez, Julio Cascante, Jared Stroud, Dominguez and others looked frustrated with their chances that couldn’t alter the result.
Austin could eventually turn things around and there’s something to be said about their potential, but at home, they’ve had serious complications with finishing their chances.
Freelance writer Cesar Hernandez is a specialist in all things American and Mexican soccer. He has written for ESPN FC, The Athletic, The Guardian, FourFourTwo, VICE Sports and several other publications. Along with writing and previous radio appearances on the BBC, talkSPORT and SiriusXM FC, Cesar is also a member of the Mexican Soccer Show podcast. Email: [email protected]More info on Cesar Hernandez
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