Sebastian Driussi powers Austin FC's red-hot start to 2022

Through the first two weeks of the 2022 MLS season, Austin FC are flying high, scoring 10 goals across two emphatic home victories, the latest of which was a 5-1 romp Sunday over Inter Miami CF at Q2 Stadium.

The 10 goals constitute a new league record for an MLS club's first two games of a season, a remarkable feat after Austin found goals hard to come by for much of their expansion season in 2021.

At the center of it all has been Designated Player Sebastian Driussi, who put in a virtuoso performance against Inter Miami, scoring a brace and buzzing around the field. Afterward, Austin head coach Josh Wolff sang the praises of the 26-year-old Argentine midfielder, who Wolff credited with helping spark a culture change following his signing last summer from Russia's Zenit Saint Petersburg.

"[Driussi] can set the bar as high as he wants," Wolff said of the River Plate product. "He has that ability, he really does. His work ethic, his charisma, his quality is impeccable. Players gravitate towards him, he gravitates towards them as well. He plays in all areas of the field: Build-up, out wide, and what I always say is he always thrives around goal. He has such a hunger to move the attack. We're certainly pleased to have him. Once we were able to have him, he's a guy we were certainly glad to get across the line.

"He's helped change and certainly guide this franchise in a new direction."

Those qualities have had a ripple effect on the whole group on the field, Austin goalkeeper Brad Stuver said.

ATX got a taste of it last year following Driussi's productive initial foray into MLS, which saw him score five goals and dish out five assists in 17 matches. But with a full preseason under his belt, Driussi's influence should only be enhanced – and he's got three goals and two assists in blowout victories over FC Cincinnati and Inter Miami.

"You saw it last year when we brought him in: He brought a different speed and a different talent level that we needed last year," Stuver said. "And I think just being with this group for part of last year and through this preseason, it's really given the guys a better understanding of, 'Ok, when he goes we need to be with him, when he moves, we need to fill his space.' You see a lot of guys working off him and kind of switching positions interchangeably.

"Everyone knows their role, and just knowing that Seb is going to be working his butt off for 90 minutes, it makes everyone else need to do the same."

The attacking fireworks are a welcome sight for Austin after last year's struggles on that side of the ball, which Stuver said they drilled throughout preseason camp.

"We addressed it at the end of last year, we scored 30-something goals last year and we have 10 in the first two matches," Stuver said. "So it was something that we talked about, that we weren't getting enough numbers in the box, we weren't creating enough high-quality chances. I think most of last year we were still developing the culture and developing the style of play. Now we get to expand on that."

It should be noted that the 10-goal outburst came against two defenses that are considered among the flimsiest in MLS. The sustainability of this hot start will be put to the test next Saturday at the Portland Timbers in a Week 3 clash (10 pm ET | MLS LIVE on ESPN+ in US, DAZN in Canada).

"We're extremely pleased by the results," Wolff said. "It's two home games, two wins. For me, it's a learning process, last year we learned a lot about our group, I learned a lot about myself and we've made some additions on the field and we've made some changes tactically on the field. And I think that's also where we're going, and that'll need to continue. We're not a finished product, nor is this team or these players.

"We've got to keep getting better and improving. It's a performance to build on and we're going to continue to work through it. It gets much, much harder as we go through the season. We've got Portland next, a very good opponent."