Now in their 18th MLS season, the Houston Dynamo are off to their first-ever 0-2-0 start, and they will face out for a difficult home opener against rival Austin FC on Saturday.
It's the first Texas Derby match of 2023, and the Dynamo are coming off two weeks of practice since a 3-0 loss at New England on March 4. Houston opened the season with a 2-1 defeat at FC Cincinnati on Feb. 25 and had a bye in Week 3.
"We've had plenty of time to work on ourselves and make sure we utilize this bye week to get better and prepare for a very good team in Austin," Dynamo coach Ben Olsen said. "It's very clear who Austin is and how they go about winning games. They're well-coached. They've got weapons."
Austin (2-1-0, 6 points) has won its past two MLS games and recorded a 2-0 victory Tuesday over Haitian side Violette -- although that win could not keep the Verde from being eliminated from the CONCACAF Champions League (3-2 aggregate loss in the Round of 16).
Saturday's match in Houston will be Austin's fifth in a span of 18 days.
"We're two years into our build and we've got growth that needs to continue to happen, development that needs to continue to happen," Austin coach Josh Wolff said. "In these moments we have to show resiliency when it's needed. We have to move on and obviously get back and get focused on the weekend. We play an in-state rival and we have to freshen up."
Austin, last year's Western Conference runner-up, bounced back from a home loss to St. Louis City on opening night with wins at home against CF Montreal on March 4 and on the road at Real Salt Lake on March 11.
Against RSL, Austin won 2-1 behind the first career goal of 18-year-old midfielder Owen Wolff. Wolff, Josh's youngest son, also had an assist on a goal by Jon Gallagher.
Austin has beaten Houston in the past three meetings and has won four of the five all-time matchups.
The Dynamo's only goal this season was produced by defender Tate Schmidt off a corner kick by team captain Hector Herrera.
--Field Level Media