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Austin FC
Major League Soccer
Oct 5, 2023 at 1.30am UK
Bold Stadium
DC United

3 - 0
DC United

Bruin (11'), Driussi (21'), Hedges (64')
FT(HT: 2-0)

Klich (82')

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

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

Austin FC will be looking to keep their faint playoff dreams alive on Wednesday night when they welcome DC United to Q2 Stadium in the closing stages of the MLS regular season.

The hosts are six points off the playoff zone with three matches left to play, while DC United are hot on the heels of the top nine in the Eastern Conference.

Match preview

Austin FC head coach Josh Wolff on September 3, 2023© Reuters

Austin's top-nine ambitions took a seismic blow on the weekend, as the club travelled to Colorado Rapids expecting three points which would have propelled them away from the bottom of their section, although things did not go to plan for the visitors.

The Rapids took a shock first-half lead courtesy of an Andreas Maxso strike, and the hosts at Dick's Sporting Goods Park held on valiantly in the second period to earn only their fifth win of the term, handing Austin their 14th loss of the year in the process.

The Oaks are now currently eight matches without a win in MLS, with their last success coming before the Leagues Cup break at home to Sporting Kansas City, who were downed by quickfire goals from Ethan Finlay and former Los Angeles Galaxy star Gyasi Zardes on July 16.

A woeful run of recent form has seen Josh Wolff's men drift onto the fringes of playoff contention at the vital moment, with Austin now six points behind ninth-placed Dallas with only nine points left to desperately scrap for.

Wolff's charges have been leaking goals on their own patch of late, conceding seven in their three most recent contests at Q2 Stadium, collecting just a single point combined from fixtures against Seattle Sounders, Portland Timbers and LA Galaxy.

DC United head coach Wayne Rooney looks on from the sidelines on September 10, 2023© Reuters

Although not as drastic as Austin's, DC United head into Wednesday night's clash enduring a worrying winless run, with the capital club currently five matches without a maximum since that convincing 4-0 victory at home to Chicago Fire on September 3.

United's most recent home clash saw them concede five goals in a single match for the first time in 2023, with New York Red Bulls earning all the points at Audi Field in an eight-goal thriller - one which included a hat-trick for former Liverpool and Aston Villa marksman Christian Benteke.

The Belgian was on the scoresheet across the border in Canada against Vancouver Whitecaps on the weekend, with Wayne Rooney's side earning a point at BC Place thanks to a second-half equaliser from Poland international Mateusz Klich, meaning the 33-year-old now has three goals to his name since moving from Championship outfit Leeds United in January.

DC are only outside of the Eastern Conference's playoff places due to an inferior goal difference when compared to CF Montreal, although Wednesday's visitors have played a game more than the majority of their top-nine rivals, with United having only two more opportunities to bolster their tally of points.

With Taxiarchis Fountas leaving MLS to join Turkish Super Lig side Trabzonspor in the summer transfer window, 21-year-old Theodore Ku-DiPietro has really stepped up to the plate during his first full season of top-tier action, with the young American providing seven goals contributions so far this term.

Austin FC Major League Soccer form:

DC United Major League Soccer form:

Team News

Austin FC forward Gyasi Zardes (9) celebrates after scoring a goal on June 21, 2023© Reuters

Austin will be without the services of striker Zardes until the end of the month due to a calf injury sustained in the draw at New York Red Bulls, meaning Emiliano Rigoni is set to lead the line for the hosts despite being a natural winger.

The Oaks have been light in their left-back department since Zan Kolmanic suffered a nasty cruciate ligament injury in April - the Slovenian will not feature again this season even if his side miraculously make the playoffs.

On the topic of full-backs, DC United are unable to call on the talents of Mohanad Jeahze on Wednesday night due to a knee issue sustained in September, although the former Sweden youth international has not played since April 16.

The visitors remain without their first-choice goalkeeper in the closing stages of the 2023 regular season, with 30-year-old Tyler Miller starting 25 MLS contests this year before sustaining an abdominal injury which has seen him play no part since late August.

Alexander Bono will therefore deputise between the sticks once again for Rooney's playoff chasers, and the American has fared admirably so far when handed opportunities to start, keeping four clean sheets in eight league matches this campaign.

Austin FC possible starting lineup:
Stuver; Lima; Cascante, Valsanen, Fodrey; Wolff, Valencia, Pereira; Bruin, Ring; Rigoni

DC United possible starting lineup:
Bono; Ruan, Pines, Williams, Santos; Klich, Durkin, Hopkins, Pirani; Ku-DiPietro, Benteke

SM words green background

We say: Austin FC 1-1 DC United

Austin have been one of the poorest sides in MLS since the league resumed following the Leagues Cup break, and there will be immense pressure on an Oaks side without Zardes and Sebastian Driussi to find a way to keep their top-nine hopes alive.

DC United have picked up draws during their two most recent MLS outings, and we are expecting Rooney's men to do the same on Wednesday night to essentially end Austin's playoff aims.

How to watch

You can watch Austin FC vs. DC United and every MLS match this season live on Apple TV. Click here for more details on how to subscribe.

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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