Austin FC head coach Josh Wolff acknowledged the team’s rough introduction to Major League Soccer but justified the recent string of negative results by highlighting signs of progress.
The newest expansion team trails the Western Conference with 19 points in 25 games, seeing just five victories so far this season. They go into Sunday’s match against LA Galaxy with a five-game losing streak.
But amid a downward spiral, Wolff praised the team for their encouraging development.
"I think our identity, the way that we play and certainly the emotion that our guys consistently show, barring a few poor performances, has been pretty good," Wolff said.
"That growth and our way of playing is, I think fairly recognizable and certainly entertaining. Lately we've seen ourselves be able to score a good amount of goals, which we've done throughout the year, creating chances, but I think we've scored more.”
Though Austin FC has scored on 25 occasions in 2021, they have also allowed 40 goals from opponents. Their concerning goal difference of -15 has worried Wolff as he admits defense is his greatest concern moving forward.
"The issue now becomes the ability to prevent goals and to grind and to compete and the real piece is to problem solve when things do break down in the game. ... We've got nine games left and that's kind of what I've presented to these guys. Let's make this nine-game season as [best] as we can and create some goals in there and really focus on those things individually and collectively to give us the best chance to win games and obviously build momentum as this season goes on."
Austin has nine games left in their debut season, five at home and four away. The team also has no mathematical chance of qualifying to playoffs, concluding the season with the match against the Portland Timbers on 7 November.