Wednesday, March 22, 2023

MLS Preview: St. Louis City FC (0-0-0) at Austin FC (0-0-0)

After winning by a score of 1-0 at Charlotte in June 2022, Austin FC will play this match for the second time in MLS against an expansion team. In the 62nd minute, Daniel Pereira scored the game’s only goal.

Austin FC improved by 25 points from its expansion 2021 campaign (31 to 56 points) to reach the Conference Final in its second MLS season. That improvement, along with Chivas USA’s 25-point improvement from 2005 to 2006, is the largest by a team from its first to second MLS season.

Since 2019, each of the five most recent MLS expansion teams has lost their first regular season match. In 2018, Los Angeles FC is the only one of the 11 newcomers to the MLS who has won its first MLS match (1-0 at Seattle) since 2012. The only time an expansion team has won on the road against a non-expansion team is in that LAFC victory—Fire did the same in 1998 when they beat Miami Fusion, another expansion team.

During the regular season, Sebastian Driussi scored 22 goals, one more than Hany Mukhtar, who led the league with 23 goals. Driussi scored at least one goal in 13 of his 17 regular-season games at Q2 Stadium, tying him for the most in the league with 20 goals (15 goals, 5 assists).

In recent times, it has been difficult to score goals in a team’s first MLS match; Nashville in 2020 was the only one of the four teams to join MLS since 2020 to score in their first match. Vancouver (4-2 vs. Toronto) was the last team to score more than once in their first MLS match in 2011.

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