Slow-starting Orlando City, Austin FC try to break through

League: MLS

Posted on: 22 Mar, 2024 at 11:17 PM

Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Austin FC and Orlando City SC, both winless this season through the first four weeks, will try to remedy that situation when they square off on Saturday evening in central Florida.

It's just the second time the teams will play - the first was a draw in Austin in 2022 -- and the first game ever in Orlando.

Austin (0-1-3, three points) heads on the road after producing just three points through its first three home matches, most recently a 2-2 draw with Philadelphia on March 16.

The Verde got goals from Diego Rubio and Jon Gallagher over a three-minute span of the early second half but had to split the points when they conceded in the 65th minute.

Austin has scored five goals in its four matches this season with four of those coming from defenders. Gallagher's goal was his sixth since the start of the 2023 MLS season, the most of any defender in the league.

"We've played three or four of the best teams in the league," Gallagher said. "It's not like we're behind the curve. We're right there and we see the progress. We see that it's right there for us to take. We just have to go and take it."

Verde goalkeeper Brad Stuver recorded five saves in the draw against Philadelphia and leads the league in stops with 22.

Orlando City (0-3-1, one point) heads home after a 2-0 loss in Atlanta on March 16, the Lions' third consecutive setback after a season-opening draw against Montreal. The three-game losing streak is Orlando City's longest in league play since July 23-Aug. 6, 2022, and the Lions have been outscored 10-2 over that stretch.

"Obviously, the frustration at this point is probably bigger, but we are professionals, and we have to move on," Orlando City SC coach Oscar Pareja said after the loss in Atlanta. "There is a bunch of things that we saw that left us with the taste that we can bounce back."

The Lions will be without seven players for the Austin game because of international duty, including Peruvian goalkeeper Pedro Gallese and forward Duncan McGuire.

-Field Level Media