Austin FC center back Leo Väisänen out with knee injury

Leo V Austin

The injury-related hits keep on coming for Austin FC.

Head coach Josh Wolff confirmed to local reporters on Friday that center back Leo Väisänen is expected to miss at least two months after suffering a tear right LCL (knee) tear in their midweek US Open Cup defeat to Chicago Fire FC.

Väisänen’s injury comes as fellow center back Julio Cascante returns from an adductor strain that kept him sidelined for over two months. That injury proved especially troublesome, forcing Alex Ring to drop from midfield onto the Verde & Black’s backline.

The 25-year-old Finland international, who joined Austin this winter from Swedish side IF Elfsborg, has one assist across 12 league games (all starts). He’s been a hugely important signing after Ruben Gabrielsen returned to his native Norway in the offseason.

The timeline Wolff outlined could keep Väisänen out through the revamped Leagues Cup starting in late July, if not even longer. In the meantime, Ring, Cascante and Aleksandar Radovanovic are expected to carry the load in central defense. Radovanovic is on loan from Belgian side KV Kortrijk until June 30 with a transfer option.

Heading into Matchday 15, Austin are ninth in the Western Conference with a 4W-5L-4D record, rebounding as of late after a slow start. They made the Western Conference Final in 2022 before falling to LAFC.