Where we left off last year
2023 season: 39 points, 12th in the Western Conference
The rug was pulled out from underneath Austin FC last year as the club dropped to 12th in the West and missed the playoffs after soaring in 2022. Without a clear supply line into Sebastian Driussi, the attack took a hit. There were even larger issues on the defensive end, with Austin allowing more goals than all but three teams in the league and more non-penalty xG than all but four.
In June, Austin hired one of Pep Guardiola’s former assistant coaches in Rodolfo Borrell to replace Claudio Reyna as the club’s sporting director. That hire signaled the start of a necessary rebuilding process.
What changed in the offseason
- Jader Obrian, W: Obrian had a sneaky-solid season last year, scoring six goals and adding three assists in less than 1,900 league minutes with FC Dallas. He ranked in the 79th percentile among MLS wingers and attacking midfielders in non-penalty xG+xAG, according to FBref. The 28-year-old can be hit-or-miss in the final third, but his hit rate and direct running will help Austin’s attack.
- Guilherme Biro, LB: Biro, 23, joins Austin FC from the second-tier in Brazil. He’s a strong, physically imposing left-sided defender who prefers to stay deep in possession as a third center back rather than to make lung-busting runs down the wing.
- Micah Burton, AM: Signed to a first-team contract this offseason, Burton is Austin’s second Homegrown player. The 17-year-old has experience in the U.S. youth national team system and likes to combine with his right foot. It might be a year too early for the youngster, but he has promise.
- Diego Rubio, FW: Rubio struggled with injuries for a big chunk of last season with the Colorado Rapids, but the 30-year-old is still an incredibly skilled attacker. In 2022, he finished in the 90th percentile for non-penalty xG+xAG among his positional peers. If Rubio can play 1,500 minutes this year, this free agent signing will be a big success.