The San Jose Earthquakes have never lost to Austin FC, but they will have to be much better than their recent form to keep that streak alive when the two sides square off Saturday in a Western Conference match in Austin, Texas.
The teams have played four times over the past two years, with the Earthquakes producing two wins and two draws, most recently a 2-2 tie when the teams played earlier this season in the Bay Area. San Jose overcame a two-goal deficit to split the points in that match.
But the Earthquakes (5-10-8, 23 points) travel to one of MLS's toughest places to play carrying a four-game winless streak that's seen them drop three of their past four matches. San Jose is in 13th place in the West and is tied with Kansas City for the fewest wins in the league.
The Earthquakes lost at home to Inter Miami 1-0 on Wednesday, making the trip to Austin even more arduous. Starting goalkeeper JT Marcinkowski exited the match at halftime due to injury; his status for Saturday's match is to be determined.
"We started the match with low energy, and it was something that we were trying to address at halftime," San Jose interim coach Alex Covelo said. "In the second half we started a bit more aggressive, we recovered balls, we were able to do transitions and be a little bit more dangerous."
San Jose is 1-7-3 on the road in 2022. Jeremy Ebobisse leads the Earthquakes' attack with 12 goals.
Austin FC (13-5-5, 44 points) continue their breakthrough season, entering the weekend in second in the West and third in the Supporters' Shield standings. Austin heads home after a 2-0 win at Kansas City on Saturday and is 6-1-2 since June.
Austin got goals from Alex Ring and Sebastian Driussi in Saturday's win and benefitted from a penalty kick save from Brad Stuver.
Austin, which scored the fewest goals in MLS last year in its inaugural season, has 47 this year and leads the league. It has scored in 13 consecutive games, the longest streak in team history as well as the longest active run in MLS.
"We've certainly added some players, some character, some experience, some leadership," Austin FC coach Josh Wolff said about his team's turnaround campaign. "We've also really tried to build the chemistry and set our group this year by doing things in training and allowing these guys to come together post-training or on their own."
Austin is led by Driussi, an All-Star who has tallied a league-high 14 goals and racked up a league-best 21 goal contributions this season. Driussi has contributed to at least one goal in seven home games this season.
--Field Level Media