AUSTIN (KXAN) — Austin FC knew that the first stretch in franchise history would also be the most grueling stretch in franchise history. Sunday’s 2-1 loss at Sporting Kansas City was the franchise’s fourth of eight road matches to open the season.
“The first expectation is that it’s going to be really difficult,” said head coach Josh Wolff. “I’ve been most pleased by our ability to stick to the script, and go in an implement our ideas and philosophy.”
Austin FC has netted six points out of a possible 12 during its difficult road slate.
“I didn’t have a ton of expectations as far as result-wise what it would be like. Of course, having two wins on the road out of the first four is pretty solid, I feel we could have a few more points but I also don’t want to be greedy about it, it’s not easy to go on the road and get points in our league,” Wolff said.
Austin FC will make its second trip to Los Angeles in a month, playing the LA Galaxy on Saturday afternoon. To make things even tougher, Austin FC will be without captain midfielder Alex Ring after he was given a red card in the second half of Sunday’s match, which comes with an automatic one-match suspension. Ring’s hard tackle put Verde down a man at Kansas City, which quickly turned a 1-0 Austin lead into that 2-1 loss.
“It’s always difficult to lose your captain,” said Wolff. “From talking to Alex, he just needs to be smarter than that and knowing that he’s on thin ice (after the first yellow card) but I’m not taking him out that game. He’s too important of a player, he’s experienced, you manage those moments, you learn to control it. The flip side is it cost us a player, it cost us the game in some degree, at least to have a grip on the game, but we need his intensity, we need his bite and I don’t think that will deviate.”
Wolff would not commit on who would start in Ring’s place on Saturday, but it very well could be Sebastian Berhalter, who is the son of current US men’s national team coach Gregg Berhalter.
The 20-year old midfielder has played a total of 37 minutes in their last three games after not seeing action in the opener.