Armchair Analyst's Breakdown
- Strength: They’re an extremely well-balanced roster, full of players whose individual strengths resonate both with their teammates and within the overall scheme. It’s not just a collection of talent. And obviously, they’ve got a killer centerpiece in Sebastián Driussi.
- Weakness: They have a giant question mark in central defense after Ruben Gabrielsen’s departure. And also, the underlying numbers suggested last year was, uh, something of a fluke. That’s not necessarily a weakness, just a bookmark for me to come back and say “I told you so” if it goes pear-shaped.
- Ruben Gabrielsen: Ruben Gabrielsen spent just one year with Austin, but was crucial in their leap to second place in the Western Conference – stabilizing a leaky defense. Leo Väisänen has big shoes to fill.
- Moussa Djitté: Moussa Djitté is on loan at French Ligue 1 club Ajaccio (at least through June 30) after he struggled to crack Austin’s starting lineup. With Gyasi Zardes in town and Maxi Urruti still at the club, the U22 Initiative forward should get more playing time.
- Gyasi Zardes: The last time Zardes played for Josh Wolff (2018, Columbus), he had his best-ever season with 19 goals. Now 31, Zardes arrives in Austin via free agency to reunite with the head coach. The longtime US international has 97g/25a throughout his MLS career.
- Leo Väisänen: After last year’s anchor left, Väisänen is a crucial addition in central defense for Austin. The 25-year-old Finland international has experience in the top flights across Sweden and Finland.
- Adam Lundkvist: After five years in Houston, Adam Lundkvist has a new home. Austin acquired the left back in a trade with the Dynamo, where he made 121 MLS appearances.
- Full roster
Projected Starting XI
- Marcelo Balboa: 2nd in West
- Charles Boehm: 5th in West
- Tom Bogert: 4th in West
- Matt Doyle: 3rd in West
- David Gass: 4th in West
- J. Sam Jones: 4th in West
- Sacha Kljestan: 1st in West
- Kaylyn Kyle: 1st in West
- Joseph Lowery: 4th in West
- Melissa Ortiz: 1st in West
- Danielle Slaton: 4th in West
- Andrew Wiebe: 2nd in West
- Bradley Wright-Phillips: 3rd in West
Odds & Ends
- Head coach: Josh Wolff
- Stadium: Q2 Stadium
- Last year: 16W-10L-8T, 56 points, 2nd in West
- Audi 2022 MLS Cup Playoffs: Western Conference Final