Match Preview: Atlanta United vs. Austin FC Saturday, July 9 2022

Atlanta United kicks off three consecutive matches at home on Saturday with the first all-time meeting with Austin FC. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. ET at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. 

Atlanta United is returning home after three consecutive matches on the road. The team fell to Toronto FC 2-1 and New York Red Bulls 2-1, then made a strong effort at Yankee Stadium to draw the defending MLS Cup champions, New York City FC 2-2

The team returns to Mercedes-Benz Stadium looking to sweep the next three and gain some ground in the Eastern Conference table. Up first, Atlanta United faces Austin FC, a club that’s having a strong season and enters Saturday ranked second in the Western Conference.  

July 7 marked the first day of the summer transfer window. Atlanta United added some players and moved some as well. Saturday's match marks the first time two of those additions could see playing time. Center back Juanjo Purata and goalkeeper Raúl Gudiño will be available for selection against Austin FC.

Juanjo-Purata_Training

Austin FC Is Alright, Alright, Alright 

Austin FC is a Western Conference opponent based out of Texas. The club was announced as an expansion side in 2018 and began league play last season in 2021. It joins Houston Dynamo and FC Dallas as the third MLS club in the state of Texas.  

  • Home venue: Q2 Stadium 
  • Main colors: Green, black 
  • Head coach: Josh Wolff 
  • Oscar winning actor and Texas native Matthew McConaughey is part of the club’s ownership group. 

Family Affair 

If the name of the Austin’s FC head coach sounds familiar, you’re not wrong. Josh Wolff is the father of Atlanta United Homegrown player Tyler Wolff, who played in five matches for Atlanta United this season. Tyler’s brother, Owen, is also a member of Austin FC’s roster and has played in 11 matches.  

On Thursday, Atlanta United announced that it has loaned Tyler Wolff to second division Belgium side SK Beveren for the 2022-23 league season. Although he won’t be available for selection, Tyler was able to give a preview of the matchup before he heads to Europe: 

“I think it’ll be a good game,” Wolff said. “Atlanta’s tough at home and with the crowd, I think they’re opening up the top bowl, so a 70,000 crowd. And I know Austin has been good this year. So, I think it’ll be a good matchup. It’ll be an exciting game. I’m looking forward to it.” 

Verde and Black  

Austin FC has been a great story and one of the best teams in MLS so far this season. The club enters Saturday’s match with a 10-4-4 record sitting in second place in the Western Conference standings.  

Unlike many MLS squads, the Verde and Black play well on the road. The side has won six times and earned 19 points in 10 away matches this season, currently tied for best in the league. And not only has Austin FC done well on the road, they’ve also gotten results against Eastern Conference opponents. They’ve won all three of their inter-conference matchups this season.  

“They’re definitely a good team,” Atlanta United defender Caleb Wiley said. “They’re going to come out flying. Very high press, great individual players, great team overall. We just have to be ready for it. Today we were working on building it out and things that we can break them down with. But it should be a pretty good game.” 

Atlanta Enjoys Texas 

Saturday is the first match of a three-game homestand for Atlanta United. The club enters this stretch with a 5-7-5 record and in 11th place in the Eastern Conference table.  

Although Saturday’s opponent is playing well, there are several factors falling in Atlanta’s favor. As we know, Atlanta United plays very well on its home turf. The club has only been beaten once at home so far this season. And, although Austin is a new opponent for Atlanta United, the 5-Stripes have won four of its previous five home matches against Texas teams.  

“We lost some points on the road there, especially New York Red Bulls was one of those we could have brought the three points,” head coach Gonzalo Pineda said. “But football is like this. Now we have to turn it around and try to come for these three points against Austin. That’s always in our heads and we have to get it.” 

Key 2022 Stats and League Ranking
Atlanta United
Austin FC
Possession
58.5% (3rd)
55.2% (4th)
Pass Percentage
85% (1st)
83.2% (7th)
Key Passes
188 (1st)
135 (20th)
Assists
21 (18th)
42 (1st)

Players To Watch 

Josef Martínez – He followed up the club’s first-ever goal at Red Bull Arena by scoring a flying header against New York City FC. The striker has four goals in the last five Atlanta United matches, including the American Family Insurance Cup, and has a chance to make history on Saturday. Martínez has scored against 25 different MLS opponents, tied for all-time best. If he scores against Austin FC, he’ll have scored against more opponents than any player in MLS history.

Sebastián Driussi and Maxi Urruti – This is a strong pairing for Austin FC side. Driussi, a designated player from Buenos Aires, has 10 goals on the season, which ties him with Taty Castellanos to lead the league. His counterpart in the attack and fellow Argentine, Urruti, has scored six goals. Both players scored in Austin’s comeback win over Colorado Rapids on Monday. It was the third time this season the two players scored in the same match and no other pair of teammates has done it more than these two.  

Other Tidbits

  • Atlanta United will be wearing the BLVCK Kit on Saturday.