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Austin FC seeks end to road woes when it faces D.C. United

Apr 10, 2022; Austin, Texas, USA;  Austin FC forward Sebastian Driussi (7) plays the ball against the  Minnesota United FC in the first half at Q2 Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Erich Schlegel-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Erich Schlegel-USA TODAY Sports

Austin FC and D.C. United will square off for the first time ever on Saturday in an interconference match in Washington with both teams looking to end dubious winless streaks.

Austin has been fabulous at home, going 7-1-1 over its past nine matches, but is winless in 16 straight road games (0-13-3) and has just six goals combined in those games.

Austin FC heads to the District of Columbia after a gritty 1-0 home win over Minnesota United last Sunday. Maximiliano Urruti got off the ground after being fouled in the 58th minute to score the game’s only goal.

“(Urruti’s) goal settled us,” Austin coach Josh Wolff said in his post-match press conference. “Prior to the goal, I wouldn’t say we were as fluid and certainly as structured with our setup when we were finishing attacks. But the goal settled us, and fresh legs also helped.”

Austin (3-1-2, 11 points) won for the third time in 2022 league play; it took the team 12 matches to reach three wins in its inaugural campaign in 2021.

Urruti has found the net in Austin FC’s past two games and could become the first player in team history to score in three matches in a row. Austin is 2-0-0 against Eastern Conference opponents this season, scoring 10 goals combined and allowing just one against FC Cincinnati and Inter Miami.

D.C. United (2-3-0, 6 points) has dropped three straight matches, with two of those losses (both shutouts) coming at home. D.C. hasn’t been defeated in three consecutive home MLS matches since May 2017.

D.C. United returns to play after an off-week. Its most recent match was a 1-0 home loss to Atlanta United on April 2 in which the visitors scored a goal four minutes into second-half stoppage time to steal the points and send D.C. United to a loss.

“I felt like we were the better team (against Atlanta) and unfortunately, we came out with zero points,” D.C. United defender Steven Birnbaum said after the loss. “We have to at least stick one in a game like that at home. So, it’s obviously frustrating.”

Recent acquisition Taxi Fountas, formerly of Rapid Vienna in Austria and D.C. United’s highest-paid player, is eligible to make his team debut on Saturday after paperwork for the Greek national’s work visa was completed this week. Fountas is expected to be in uniform for the match against Austin FC but it’s not clear whether he will play.

–Field Level Media