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Austin FC
Major League Soccer
Mar 31, 2024 at 12.30am UK
Bold Stadium
FC Dallas

2 - 1

Cascante (54'), Rubio (70')
Wolff (20'), Wolff (24'), Rubio (58'), Cascante (88')
FT(HT: 0-0)
Ansah (51')
Paes (19'), Burgess (90+9')

Preview: Austin FC vs. Dallas - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Sunday's Major League Soccer clash between Austin FC and Dallas, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Two of Major League Soccer's Texan outfits will do battle at the Q2 Stadium on Sunday, as Austin FC entertain Dallas.

Both sides find themselves at the bottom end of the Western Conference Standings at this early stage of the season and will bid to kickstart their campaigns with a win.

Match preview

Austin FC head coach Josh Wolff looks on on March 3, 2024© Reuters

In their sixth outing this year, Austin FC will continue their search for a first Major League Soccer win of the season on Sunday, having endured a slow start thus far.

After missing out on the playoffs last term, finishing 12th in the Western Conference with 39 points from 34 games, the Verde and Black set out to improve in 2024 but are yet to make their mark, collecting just three points from their first five outings.

Following an opening-day 2-1 loss to Minnesota United and a goalless stalemate with Seattle Sounders, Josh Wolff's side went on to pLay out consecutive 2-2 draws at home to St Louis City and Philadelphia Union, being pegged back on both occasions having led 2-1 through Matt Hedges and Julio Cascante in the former and Diego Rubio and Jon Gallagher against the latter.

Continuing their search for a first three-point haul, the Verde and Black most recently travelled to take on Orlando City last Saturday, but they left empty-handed, falling to a 2-0 defeat as Jack Lynn opened the scoring on the stroke of half time before Nicolas Lodeiro doubled the hosts' lead around the hour mark.

Now sitting 13th in the Western Conference as one of the three sides across the MLS without a victory thus far, Austin FC will be desperate to double their points tally on home turf at the weekend with a positive result to get their campaign up and running.

Dallas head coach Nico Estevez on March 2, 2024© Reuters

Their visitors, meanwhile, also head into a meeting with a fellow Texan outfit aiming to end a tough run, having also only collected three points thus far albeit with a game in hand at this early stage.

After a seventh-placed Conference finish and a first-round playoff exit last term, Dallas set out to build in the 2024 campaign and establish themselves in the top seven once again, and they did enjoy a winning start, coming from behind to beat San Jose Earthquake 2-1 thanks to Dante Sealy's 94th-minute winner.

That has produced their only points thus far, though, with the Toros having since suffered three straight defeats, firstly falling in 2-1 losses at the hands of CF Montreal and New York Red Bulls.

Nico Estevez's side then welcomed Vancouver Whitecaps to the Toyota Stadium most recently, and they again came away empty-handed, falling to a 3-1 defeat despite Sebastian Lletget halving the deficit late in the first half, as Fafa Picault instantly stretched the visitors' lead again.

Having not been in action last weekend, Dallas will now return to action following a rest with the aim of ending their losing run and beginning an upturn in results with a second league win of the campaign on Sunday.

Austin FC Major League Soccer form:
  • L
  • D
  • D
  • D
  • L

Dallas Major League Soccer form:
  • W
  • L
  • L
  • L

Team News

FC Dallas midfielder Sebastian Lletget (8) celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal on March 17, 2024© Reuters

Both teams will welcome several players back to contention from international duty on Sunday, with Austin likely being able to call on defender Julio Cascante and midfielder Dani Pereira after their commitments with Costa Rica and Venezuela respectively.

They should both come back in from the outset, with Cascante likely rejoining Matt Hedges at the heart of the back four, with Finnish defender Leo Vaisanen remaining sidelined by injury.

In their 4-2-3-1 shape, Diego Rubio should again lead the line, while captain Sebastian Driussi will continue in the middle of a supporting trio, having netted 36 MLS goals across their previous two seasons.

Dallas will be bolstered by the return of Liam Fraser from international duty with Canada, although they will likely remain without Alan Velasco and Geovane Jesus, both of whom are yet to feature this season due to injury issues.

Former Real Madrid and Real Sociedad midfielder Asier Illarramendi has also been absent for their last two games and could again miss out at the weekend, likely leaving Sebastian Lletget and Patrickson Delgado to partner up in the engine room, although Fraser will fight to come in from the outset.

In a dangerous front line, Petar Musa, who arrived in the off-season from Benfica, will spearhead the attack with support from Paul Arriola and Jesus Ferreira, who has scored 13 and 18 goals across the last two MLS seasons.

Austin FC possible starting lineup:
Stuver; Gallagher, Cascante, Hedges, Biro; Ring, Pereira; Obrian, Driussi, Finlay; Rubio

Dallas possible starting lineup:
Paes; Ibeagha, Tafari, Junqua; Twumasi, Fraser, Lletget, Sealy; Ferreira, Musa, Arriola

SM words green background

We say: Austin FC 1-1 Dallas

With both teams left disappointed by their slow starts to the campaign and desperate for a win over Texan rivals, we anticipate a tight encounter in Austin on Sunday and cannot quite pick a winner, instead seeing a share of the points as the most likely outcome.

For data analysis of the most likely results, scorelines and more for this match please click here.

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Eastern Conference

1Inter MiamiInter Miami1594236201631
2FC CincinnatiCincinnati149321911830
3New York Red BullsNY Red Bulls146532521423
4New York City FCNY City147251816223
6Columbus Crew135621913621
7Charlotte FCCharlotte FC146351413121
8Philadelphia UnionPhiladelphia134542521417
9DC United144552024-417
10Orlando City134451520-516
11Nashville SCNashville133641720-315
12Atlanta UnitedAtlanta133461716113
13CF MontrealMontreal133371731-1412
14Chicago Fire142481326-1310
15New England RevolutionNew England12219925-167

Western Conference

1Real Salt LakeSalt Lake1484227141328
2Minnesota UnitedMinnesota Utd127322114724
3Los Angeles GalaxyLA Galaxy145722521422
4Austin FCAustin146441917222
5Los Angeles FCLos Angeles136342419521
6Colorado RapidsColorado146352423121
7Vancouver WhitecapsVancouver135441915419
8Houston DynamoHouston135351213-118
9St Louis City133731920-116
10Seattle SoundersSeattle143561617-114
11Portland TimbersPortland143472629-313
13Sporting Kansas CityKansas132562124-311
14San Jose EarthquakesEarthquakes1431102233-1110

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