Austin FC coach Josh Wolff cannot wait for the opportunity to renew their rivalry with the Houston Dynamo on Saturday.

The Dynamo come into this game off the back of another Texas derby, losing in heartbreaking fashion to FC Dallas last week.

Having led Dallas for close to an hour, Houston conceded an 87th-minute equalizer and then a 93rd-minute winner.

That is the sort of chaos that can play out in matches such as these, as Austin coach Wolff recognizes.

“Derbies take their own life and we look forward to this,” Wolff said. “Last year was a battle and a grind against them home and away.

“We look to get started in a good way in this year’s (rivalry).”

Despite the Dynamo’s dramatic defeat, coach Paulo Nagamura believes they are in a good position to take on Austin.

“Another derby, another clasico and this time against a team that has been doing very well,” he said.

“The guys responded really well this week. It was clear that we had a good game against FC Dallas and we’re disappointed with the result.

“The guys have great energy this week as we prepare for the game. We have a good idea of what Austin is going to throw at us.”

But Wolff knows what to expect from Houston, too, believing they “look more like the old Houston that we’ve all known them to be”.

“(They are) athletic, fast, powerful, combative,” he said, adding: “They’ve got ways to hurt you, there’s no doubt about it. And physically, they get behind the ball, they’re very difficult to break down.”

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Houston Dynamo – Darwin Quintero

There was scarcely a Dynamo player Wolff did not praise ahead of this match, but he picked out Quintero’s ability to “pull strings” and be “very elegant in the midfield” in particular. It is in the final third where the 34-year-old can do the most damage, though. His four goals this season have been spread across Houston’s three wins.

Austin FC – Maximiliano Urruti

Urruti and Sebastian Druissi have formed a highly effective partnership in attack for Austin, with both players regularly on the scoresheet this season. But Urruti’s opener against the Vancouver Whitecaps last time out was the first time the pair have directly combined for a goal, showing how they could yet get even better.

KEY OPTA FACTS

– The home side won all three meetings between Houston and Austin last season, with the Dynamo winning their lone home meeting with Austin 3-0 at PNC Stadium in September. Houston are unbeaten in their past nine home Texas derbies dating back to the start of the 2017 season (W4 D5).

– Houston conceded in the 87th and 93rd minutes in a 2-1 loss to FC Dallas on Saturday, the first time in almost four years the Dynamo have lost a match they led in the 85th minute or later, last doing so against Real Salt Lake in August 2018.

– Austin FC have won three consecutive matches for the first time in club history following a 3-0 win over the Whitecaps on Saturday. Austin have scored 20 goals already this season, equaling their total through the end of August last season.

– Fafa Picault scored three of Houston’s six goals against Austin FC last season. Picault, who played for Dallas in 2020 before moving to the Dynamo in 2021, has scored eight goals in 10 Texas derbies in his MLS career.

– With a goal and an assist on Saturday, Driussi has taken his season tallies to a joint-league high six goals and three assists, tied for eighth in the league. Driussi’s nine goal contributions this season are two more than any other MLS player in 2022.