Josh Wolff is refusing to get ahead of himself despite Austin FC looking like favorites to make the playoffs in MLS, as the Verde and Black prepare to host Houston Dynamo.
The Verde and Black are just two points adrift of Western Conference leaders Los Angeles FC after a routine 3-0 win over Atlanta United.
Austin are unbeaten in their last five MLS clashes, and on a four-game winning road streak, but Wolff is not thinking about the postseason just yet.
“The playoffs are a long way away,” Wolff said. “We want to keep growing. I think our performances, I think 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, home and away, and the level of character and execution and commitment and character that’s been on display often.”
The Dynamo, who are 11th in the Western Conference, scored a 101st-minute equalizer to steal a point against FC Dallas and face another state rival next.
New signing Hector Herrera made his debut in the previous game, and Houston coach Paulo Nagumara hopes to get the best out of the Mexico captain.
“He’s not a solution, but he’s definitely going to increase the quality of our team,” Nagumara 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.”
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Austin FC – Sebastian Driussi
Sebastian Driussi scored his 11th goal of the season last time out and sits just one behind Valentin Castellanos in the race for the Golden Boot award.
Houston Dynamo – Darwin Quintero
Darwin Quintero leads the scoring charts for the Dynamo this season, with seven strikes in MLS to his name in 2022.
KEY OPTA FACTS
– Austin FC has won three of its four matches against the Dynamo (L1), including a 2-1 victory on April 30. Houston is the only opponent Austin has defeated three times in MLS.
– Austin FC has won four of its last five matches (D1) including the last three in a row. The 3-0 win in Atlanta on Saturday marked the first time a team has won a road match against Atlanta by a three-goal margin in MLS.
– The Dynamo earned a point in a 2-2 draw with FC Dallas thanks to the latest open play regulation goal in MLS history, scored by Teenage Hadebe at 90’+10:28. The only later goal in league history was a Patryk Klimala penalty for the Red Bulls against NYCFC (90’+11:24) last September.
– Felipe Martins scored his first Austin FC goal on Saturday in the win in Atlanta. Martins has scored four career goals against the Dynamo, more than he’s scored against any other team in MLS play.
– Héctor Herrera made his long-awaited MLS debut in Houston’s 2-2 draw against Dallas on Saturday. Herrera is one of 16 players to make at least 100 appearances for the Mexican national team and the ninth of those 16 to play in MLS.