Major League Soccer

Austin FC returning from international break with a 'chip on our shoulder'

Chris Smith
Austin FC endured a tough run prior to the international break.
Austin FC endured a tough run prior to the international break. / Scott Wachter-USA TODAY Sports

While for some MLS teams, the international break came at the wrong time, derailing their momentum, it was arguably just right for Austin FC.

The Verde and Black had fallen off somewhat after an excellent start to the season, suffering a run of just one win in five MLS matches before the break, ending with a 4-1 thrashing at the hands of the LA Galaxy.

Austin now trail overall leaders LAFC by five points ahead of this weekend's trip to CF Montreal.

But with Josh Wolff's roster returning having 'reset their bodies and minds', according to goalkeeper Brad Stuver, sights are now set on climbing back into the Supporters' Shield race.

“The international break has been a really long break. I think a lot of guys took some much-needed time away just to reset their bodies and their minds,” Stuver told a midweek press conference.

He added: “We’re going to take it the same way that we have been thinking about it the entire time. For us, it’s just to re-focus, get back to playing with a bit of a chip on our shoulder. We want to be near the top of the West and near the top of the Supporters’ Shield.”

Though the break gave Austin's players a chance to rest, some focus was given to a friendly against Liga MX side CF Pachuca.

Austin were humbled 4-1 at Q2 Stadium but more important than the result was the chance to face some illustrious Mexican opposition while keeping a level of sharpness during a quiet period.

“This week’s been good, it was good today, training ended and guys wanted more,” said Wolff. “The tempo was good the last few days, the guys have been fatigued but in a good way. The training’s been intense and quite purposeful as you hope for all the time.”

On what Austin gained from the Pachuca friendly, the head coach added: “Coming off a break, the Pachuca game was really important because it gets that game impulse that we had lacked.

“The next eight games are also quite challenging. It’s not an easy league and there’s a lot of unpredictability and a lot of opportunities in home and away games. Our main focus right now is going against Montreal, going there and trying to get points against one of the better teams in the East.”

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