Storylines_04.10.22_ATXvsMIN

This week's Storylines looks ahead to the fourth matchup of all time between Austin and Minnesota and features such important ideas as Minnesota needing to score more goals and prevent Austin from doing so, and other such extremely complex analyses.

Bounce Back

Minnesota lost their first game of the 2022 campaign last weekend against Seattle. This weekend’s trip to Austin, then, provides their first opportunity to respond to on-pitch adversity in results. In 2021, Minnesota lost their first four games of the season on the trot (in case you forgot). After that sequence, they lost back-to-back games just once for the rest of the season, securing four wins and two draws in their other “bounce back” opportunities. In those six successes, they outscored opponents 8-2, recorded four clean sheets, and led or drew even in xG in all six matches. One of those six results? Last October’s 1-0 win at Q2 Stadium.

Execution

Speaking of leading in xG, the Loons have led in expected goals in four of their five games in 2022, the one exception being Dayne St. Clair’s masterpiece against New York Red Bulls. Even in the loss to Seattle, Minnesota came out ahead 1.7-1.3 but were unable to convert expectations to goals. The Loons must look to convert their chances, both on Sunday and for the rest of the season. Surely they won’t score exactly one goal in each game for an entire MLS season, right?

Shut the Door

Austin, after scoring ten goals in rapid succession through their first two league games against Cincinnati and Miami, have scored just three in their last three fixtures. To add to that, all three came from dead balls: both goals against San Jose came from the penalty spot, and the one against Portland was the bouncing aftermath of a corner kick. Not since old-friend Ethan Finlay’s second half brace against Miami has the Texan team scored in open play. Austin’s attack, with Sebastian Driussi’s four goals at its peak, clearly can convert chances, but should Minnesota keep them from breaking their scoreless streak and prevent the floodgates from opening, frustration may build.