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Surging Austin FC host Dynamo in Texas Derby

Jul 9, 2022; Houston, Texas, USA; Houston Dynamo midfielder Hector Herrera (16) after a water break against the FC Dallas in the second half at PNC Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports

Austin FC will look to build on one of the most dominating performances of its breakout season when it hosts the rival Houston Dynamo on Tuesday in the latest rendition of the Texas Derby.

Both teams will be playing on short rest after matches on Saturday.

Austin (11-4-4, 37 points) returns home after a 3-0 victory at Atlanta for its third road win in 10 days. Austin has won four of its past five matches (4-0-1) and has not lost since a 4-1 defeat at the Los Angeles Galaxy on May 29.

Felipe Martins, Ethan Finlay and Sebastian Driussi scored for Austin on Saturday as it improved its league-best away record to 7-3-1. Austin has always been tough to beat at home (4-1-3 this season), but its success on the road this year has been eye-opening.

“We want to keep growing,” Austin coach Josh Wolff said after Saturday’s win. “I think this performance solidifies and validates the work that we’ve been doing all year. And it validates the work that we put in place last year. We’ve got to keep searching for performances like tonight — home and away.”

The Dynamo (6-9-4, 22 points) head to Austin after roaring back for a 2-2 draw at home with FC Dallas. Houston salvaged a point against its other Lone Star State rival via a goal by Teenage Hadebe 10:28 into second-half stoppage time — the latest open-play regulation goal in MLS history — to snap a two-game losing streak.

Houston designated player Hector Herrera, the splashiest signing in team history, made his long-awaited MLS debut on Saturday against Dallas. He entered in the 55th minute and helped set up Thorleifur Ulfarsson’s goal that tied the match in the 69th minute.

With 15 regular season matches remaining, the Dynamo will work to integrate the Mexican national star into places where he can make a difference.

“(Herrera is) not a solution, but he’s definitely going to increase the quality of our team,” Houston coach Paulo Nagamura said. “We’ve just got to find ways (to put him in a position) to play his best soccer and make the guys around him better. So I’m pleased with his debut. I think it was a very positive debut.”

Austin has won three of its four all-time matches against the Dynamo, including a 2-1 victory in Houston on April 30. So far, the Dynamo are the only opponent Austin has defeated three times in its first season and a half as an MLS team.

–Field Level Media