AUSTIN (KXAN) — Austin FC has felt at home on the road this season, and the club will put its conference-best away record on the line Saturday against Sporting Kansas City.
Austin FC is 7-3-2 away from Q2 Stadium this season to lead all Western Conference teams and Kansas City has one of the worst home records at 3-5-2. To Verde’s head coach Josh Wolff, however, that doesn’t mean his club will just roll out the ball and win. They still need to execute a gameplan, or else it could mean a second consecutive defeat.
“They’re a good team. I don’t care about where they sit in the standings,” Wolff said. “This is a very good aggressive team with with quality attackers. I know that organization well, I know those people well, and they will be ready Saturday.”
Kansas City’s struggles don’t stop at home, and combined with a 2-8-3 record on the road, they are the conference’s worst team at 5-13-5. Clearly that doesn’t matter to Wolff, who knows the franchise very well. While they were the Kansas City Wizards, Wolff did two stints from 2003-06 and 2008-10, making 144 appearances and scoring 43 goals.
“There’s a reason this organization, you know, stands where it does in our league and what they stand for and their success,” he said.
Austin FC is looking to bounce back after a 4-3 loss at home to the New York Red Bulls on July 24, a match that looked to be one of disaster before Verde scored twice to cut a 4-1 deficit to 4-3 late in the match.
One big piece expected to be back in action is goalkeeper Brad Stuver. He missed the New York match after testing positive for COVID-19 earlier in the week leading up to the match. Wolff said Stuver has been in training this week and should be available.
Corozo in action for first time
Washington Corozo, an Ecuadorian national team player on loan from Sporting Cristal in Peru, got his first minutes with the club against RBNY and made the most of them. After he was brought on to replace Ruben Gabrielsen in the 77th minute, Corozo went right to work with an acrobatic assist to set up Austin FC’s third goal.
Sebastian Driussi sent a ball into the penalty area from the right flank that Corozo settled under near the 6-yard box. Admittedly, Corozo was trying to go for goal, but when he went airborne for a scissor kick, he hit it back across the face of the goal to a waiting Ethan Finlay in the 81st minute who knocked it in.
“For my first time, I think I did good and I did what coach asked me to do, and I hope that I’ll keep being able to help the team,” Corozo said through an interpreter. “We came in with a couple of errors, and maybe it was because of the anxiety of being down that bad. But during the week, we will definitely correct those errors and get those three points for this weekend.”
While Sporting Cristal holds his contractual rights, he played last season on a previous loan to Pumas UNAM in Liga MX before his loan to Austin FC. He scored eight goals in 44 appearances across all competitions.
Busy Kansas City
The match against Austin FC will be Kansas City’s third match in seven days with an US Open Cup match sandwiched between MLS contests.
Kansas City lost 2-0 to LAFC on July 23, and then worked a 0-0 draw to Sacramento Republic FC of the USL Championship in the semifinals of the US Open Cup tournament. Sacramento topped Kansas City 5-4 in a shootout to advance to the final where they’ll take on MLS side Orlando City.
Kansas City’s typical lineup, for the most part, saw plenty of action in the Open Cup match, so it will be interesting to see what adjustments the team will make for the Austin FC game. When Wolff spoke to the media about it Wednesday, he said he wasn’t too concerned with who they used because he doesn’t want to take the team lightly.
“We’ve done well against him in the past creating chances and scoring goals, but that’s just one side of it,” Wolff said. “So we got to go there with a good game plan on both sides of the ball. And again, be ready to put in a performance worthy of the three points.”
How to watch or listen the match
Austin FC vs. Sporting Kansas City, 7:30 p.m., Children’s Mercy Park, Kansas City, Mo.
TV: The CW Austin, OTA channel 54; UniMas Austin, OTA channel 62 (Spanish, delayed start)
Streaming: MLS Live on ESPN+, AustinFC.com, Austin FC app; UnivisionAustin.com, Univision Austin App (Spanish)
Radio: KASE 97.5 FM; KLQB 104.3 HD2 (Spanish)