Austin FC and the Houston Dynamo will square off for the first time ever on Wednesday in Austin with the teams looking for more than just Lone Star State pride.
Both sides desperately need a victory.
Austin, in last place in the Western Conference, has won just once in its past 12 matches and heads into Wednesday's game dragging three straight losses, most recently a 1-0 setback to the Colorado Rapids on Saturday.
The expansion club has was held scoreless in those three matches, all at home. Austin FC (3-8-4, 13 points) has now gone 279 minutes without a goal dating back to the 81st minute of a 4-1 win over the Portland Timbers on July 1.
Austin has managed just six goals in its past 12 games, has the fewest goals in the league (10), and has failed to score in 10 of its first 15 contests. Only D.C. United in 2013 (seven) and FC Cincinnati in 2020 (eight) have scored fewer goals through 15 matches of an MLS season.
"We're at a real low moment here," Austin FC coach Josh Wolff said after the Saturday loss. "You've got to look at yourself. We as a staff will look at ourselves and certainly look at some of the structural things that we can change and some of the formations and how we finish attacks."
Meanwhile, the Dynamo (3-4-9, 18 points) settled for a draw for the third straight match with a scoreless tie at home against Real Salt Lake on Saturday. Houston has not won in nine games, but seven of those results were draws.
The Dynamo now lead the conference in ties and are four shy of the franchise record.
"We're not trying to tie games," Dynamo coach Tab Ramos said after the RSL draw. "I personally have never had so many ties. It is kind of strange tying every week because you are losing points. Today was a different scenario because we are down quite a few guys. For a club like ours, that is difficult."
Houston played Saturday's match without four of its top forwards. Fafa Picault missed the game due to yellow-card accumulation while Maximiliano Urruti, Darwin Quintero and Ariel Lassiter were held out because of health and safety protocols. Picault is expected to play Wednesday, but the other three are doubtful.
--Field Level Media