More than 2 1/2 years after they were awarded an MLS expansion franchise, Austin FC will play their first-ever home game when they square off against the San Jose Earthquakes on Saturday.
Austin FC (2-4-2, 8 points) had to begin their inaugural campaign with eight consecutive road games and are the only team in MLS that has yet to play at home. Saturday's game is the first in a run that will see Austin FC play seven of their next nine at their new Q2 Stadium.
The stint has been a grind for the team, which has not won since May 1 at Minnesota and has produced three losses and two ties in five games since. The last of the eight road games came last Saturday when Austin played to a 1-1 tie at Sporting Kansas City.
Austin FC coach Josh Wolff said the team can't get too caught up in the moment.
"It's part of the responsibility of the group, the organization, and the staff but also the senior players to utilize this knowing that it's a big moment," Wolff said. "Being part of the first-ever home game for an organization probably doesn't happen that often.
"Certainly the atmosphere that we're going to have in this game is going to be significant. But it's also about staying calm and not getting so emotionally tied in or invested in, or too out of sorts that it affects our performance."
San Jose (3-5-0, 9 points) arrives on a four-game losing streak, with the most recent setback coming on May 29 in a 1-0 defeat at the Los Angeles Galaxy.
Over their four-game swoon, the Earthquakes have been outscored 7-1, with three of those games at home.
"Training has been sharper this week," Earthquakes coach Matias Almeyda said. "We have been thinking about the opponent. We gave days off for the players to disconnect and reflect and come back refreshed because we are moving into an important phase of the season, and we need to get back to winning."
This is the first-ever meeting between the two sides, with another set for Sept. 18 at San Jose.
--Field Level Media