Armchair Analyst's Breakdown
- Strength: The attack just makes sense together – lots of complementary pieces that fit snugly and amplify each other’s abilities.
- Weakness: Still not sold on they’ll be anything less than flammable in transition despite some aggressive winter shopping at d-mid at center back.
- Tomas Pochettino: Tomas Pochettino didn’t quite live up to the DP tag he arrived on. In 31 appearances (26 starts) the attack-minded midfielder had just two goals and two assists, while not offering enough against the ball. The Argentine was loaned to River Plate with a purchase option. He’ll suit up with former Atlanta attacker Ezequiel Barco (on loan) and former Inter Miami center back Leandro Gonzalez Pirez (also on loan).
- Matt Besler: One of the best center backs in the league’s young history, Matt Besler spent one year with Austin FC after becoming a club legend with Sporting KC, then retired this winter. He hangs up the boots after 314 regular-season appearances and 47 caps with the US men’s national team.
- Jhojan Valencia: A pure defensive midfielder, Jhojan Valencia should fill a key role for Austin FC in 2022, adding bite and defensive prowess to a strong midfield group. The 25-year-old was acquired from Deportivo Cali, winning the Colombian league title in 2021. He is likely to partner club captain and DP Alex Ring at the base of Josh Wolff’s midfield.
- Ruben Gabrielsen: Another defensive reinforcement, Austin signed Norwegian international center back Ruben Gabrielsen from French club Toulouse FC. The physical defender should slot into Austin FC’s backline immediately after making 50 appearances with Toulouse.
- Kipp Keller: Kipp Keller was viewed by many around the league as most likely to go No. 1 in the 2022 MLS SuperDraft, but he fell to No. 5 where Austin took him. The Saint Louis University standout could get a real opportunity at minutes this year. Traditionally, taking the consensus best center back in the SuperDraft has been a wise move.
- Full roster
Projected Starting XI
- Charles Boehm: 12th in West
- Tom Bogert: 11th in West
- Matt Doyle: 12th in West
- David Gass: 10th in West
- Sam Jones: 12th in West
- Joe Lowery: 12th in West
- Greg Seltzer: 11th in West
- Andrew Wiebe: 11th in West