Houston Dynamo FC

MATCH PREVIEW: Houston Dynamo FC return home to host in-state rivals Austin FC

match preview HouvATX 4-19

HOUSTON (April 19, 2024) – Houston Dynamo FC return to Shell Energy Stadium to host in-state rivals Austin FC on Saturday, April 20, with kickoff scheduled for 7:30 p.m. CT. 

Houston will follow this match with a Texas two step, as the Dynamo travel to face FC Dallas in the first match of the Texas Derby on Saturday, April 27.

Ahead of this weekend’s match, Houston Dynamo FC announced a multi-year contract extension with head coach Ben Olsen through 2026. Last season, the Dynamo had their best season in over a decade under Olsen’s first year leading the team. The team lifted the 2023 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, the club’s fourth domestic title, earning Houston a place in this year’s Concacaf Champions Cup for the first time since 2019. The team also made the MLS Cup Playoffs for the first time since 2017 after finishing fourth in the conference, making a run to the Western Conference Final.

The 2024 campaign is off to a hot start, as Houston’s 4-2-1 (WLD) record has the club sitting third in the Western Conference with 13 points. With a win versus Austin FC on Saturday, the Dynamo will boast their second-best eight-match start in club history, trailing only 2019 (19 points, 6-1-1). The Dynamo have won four of their last five matches and will be looking to win five of six for the first time since March 16 to May 4 in 2019.

Houston boasts one of the best defensive records so far this season, allowing only seven goals across seven matches and recording two clean sheets. Seven goals allowed is tied for the least in the Western Conference, despite a shuffling back line that has seen seven players start due to injuries. Additionally, Houston leads the league with 58.4 percent possession across the season, allowing the Dynamo to control matches and dictate pace of play.

On the attacking end of the pitch, the Dynamo have seen six different goal scorers this season, while 22-year-old forward Aliyu Ibrahim has found the back of the net a season-high three times in his first full MLS season.

Additionally, team captain and Mexican international Héctor Herrera has returned to training with the team and is trending in the right direction to earn his first minutes of the season soon.

Houston enters Saturday’s match after a two-match road stretch that ended with a 2-1 victory in Minnesota at Allianz Field last weekend. Houston found the scoreboard first in the 38th minute after a corner delivery from forward Amine Bassi found the back off the net off Minnesota’s Alejandro Bran. Houston’s match-winner came from midfielder Sebastian Kowalczyk in the 77th minute after he created his own space on a pass from Bassi and fired the ball into the back of the net for his first-career MLS goal.

Goalkeeper Steve Clark also managed five saves during the match, including two clutch blocks in stoppage time that secured three points for the Dynamo. The veteran goalkeeper and current team captain tallied 12 clean sheets last season to tie the all-time single-season club record.

Austin enters Saturday’s match sitting eleventh in the Western Conference with nine points (2-3-3 WLD). They fell 1-0 to St. Louis CITY SC on the road at CITYPARK last Sunday after a 57th minute goal from João Klauss broke the tie.

The Dynamo hold a 3-1-0 (WLD) record versus Austin FC at Shell Energy Stadium since their in-state rivals joined MLS in 2021. Houston defeated Austin twice at home last season, including a 2-0 victory in March and a 2-1 victory in May. Houston’s goal scorers in those matches included Bassi, Herrera (two goals) and Iván Franco.

Houston remains in Texas but next hits the road to face FC Dallas in the first leg of the Texas Derby on Saturday, April 27 before returning to Shell Energy Stadium on May 4 to host St. Louis CITY SC. Tickets for that home match are available HERE.