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PREVIEW: All eyes on Austin FC as they look to shuffle lineup for Real Salt Lake road match

Austin FC is looking to recover from a 2-0 loss to FC Dallas as they embark on another road match against Real Salt Lake on Saturday. (Austin FC/Twitter)

It's been a week since newcomer Sebastian Driussi's less-than-triumphant debut, when strange lineup choices by Austin FC Head Coach Josh Wolff resulted in a 2-0 loss to Texas rival FC Dallas.

Since then, Wolff criticism has intensified as fans question his decision to rest Driussi, DP Cecilio Dominguez and midfielder Tomas Pochettino well into the second half as the team continues to grapple with scorelessness. Austin has been shut out of nine of their last 12 matches.

Tasked with his first-ever head coaching job and the burdens of building an expansion team, Wolff and staff have made some unmistakable mishaps in the team's first season. On the flip side, however, the team's three signees have finally made it into town, and Driussi could get his first start with the team as they gear up for their first match at Real Salt Lake on Saturday.

What to expect

Austin is now 12th in the Western Conference after a few weeks at the bottom of the standings. Their next opponent, Real Salt Lake, currently sits just below playoff berth at eighth in the conference.

Salt Lake has been winless since July 7, when they pulled off a triumphant 4-0 win over the Vancouver Whitecaps. The club is led in attacks by midfielder Damir Kreilach, who has scored eight goals for the team, and Albert Rusnak, who helped the team out of their scoring drought in their 3-2 loss to the Portland Timbers.

With just 13 goals in the season, Austin has scored the least of any MLS team, and they'll be pitted against Mexican international team keeper David Ochoa as they look to rack up some more points. Still, the team's 3-2 win over Houston on Aug. 4, led by two goals from MLS Player of the Week Tomas Pochettino, could indicate what's to come for Austin's ever-evolving team.

Projected starting lineup

Driussi, the team's most expensive signee to date, was obtained by Austin FC during the summer transfer to alleviate scoring woes. He got in 30ish minutes against FC Dallas, but with a 2-0 deficit, was unable to show his true talents in his first Austin FC match. He'll be expected to start at the top of Austin's lineup this weekend.

Both stars Tomas Pochettino and Cecilio Dominguez were out of the starting lineup as well, entering the pitch in the 62nd minute alongside Driussi. Wolff cited health and rest concerns as his motive for benching the team's top three players, but he's almost guaranteed to not repeat the move after post-match backlash.

Thanks in part to Wolff's admittedly "cautious" roster, Austin FC also has a mostly-healed lineup. Daniel Pereira is back and helping ramp up a better midfield, while Nick Lima has returned to right back. Just McKinze Gaines (forward), Danny Hoesen (forward), Ulises Segura (midfield), and Ben Sweat (left back) are still on the injured roster. Gaines was spotted training on the sidelines in the week before the Salt Lake match.

Meanwhile, Austin is still waiting for the debut of transfers Moussa Djitte, who arrived in Austin this week after a month of slow paperwork moves, and Austin native McKinze Gaines, who signed in August but has been out on injury. Djitte is expected to join the crew in late August, though no date has been specified for either new player.


Tito's releases (not so?) ugly sweater line for the holidays, profits to charity

Tito's Handmade Vodka

Show your love for Tito's and for the community this year with a wide selection of not that ugly, uglyish, ugly, uglier, and ugliest holiday sweaters.

There's lots choose from, and plenty of accessories like scarves and socks, plus gear for your dog, too.

All of the items can be purchased online or at the Love, Tito’s Retail Store in Austin, TX. 100% of all net proceeds from online or in-store purchases go to one of the nonprofits we’ve teamed up with.

Click here to see the entire collection in the Tito's store.

Mac and Cheese Fest and Free Art Exhibit
Waterloo Greenway, Good Vibrations Installation

🗓 All weekend

🎨 Creek Show Art Exhibit

Check out this highly anticipated art exhibition with illuminated art along Waller Creek. Tickets are free and the event includes food vendors, dazzling lights, live music, and hands-on activities

All weekend 6 p.m - 10 p.m | 📍Waterloo Park

✨ Mozart's Light Show

This iconic holiday tradition lights up for the first time this holiday season starting this weekend! Reserve your spot for an enchanting light and sound performance, delicious hot cocoa, sweet treats, and some overall fun with your friends or family. The show runs till January 6th.

6 p.m and 9 p.m | 📍Mozart's Coffee Roasters - 3825 Lake Austin Blvd, Austin, TX 78703

🗓 Saturday

🥊 Kickboxing in the Park

This fitness event is free and open to the public. Get your morning started right with a "Fitness in the park" class for kickboxing! The class will be led by certified instructors and is a great way to get a cardio workout in while also honing your self-defense skills.

10 a.m - 11 a.m | 📍 Metz Park

🛍 The Front Market

Support local LBGTQ+ and female artists at this outdoor market with over 150 vendors. Get your holiday shopping out of the way at this event, with vendors for food trucks, handmade goods, raffles, hands on workshops and activities, and more.

11 a.m - 5 p.m | 📍Ani's Day and Night - 7107 E Riverside Drive, Austin, TX 78741

🗓 Sunday

🧀 Mac and Cheese Fest

Did someone say cheese?! If you're like me and always willing to get your hands on a bowl of mac and cheese, then this event is for you. Check out the Mac and Cheese festival happening this weekend to decide which vendor has. the best mac and cheese for yourself, and enjoy the bar with creative cocktails while you're at it. Tickets start at $45.

11 a.m - 3 p.m | 📍Lantana Place - 7415 Southwest Parkway