A new expansion side in 2019, Austin Bold FC play in a pop-up stadium adjacent to Circuit of the Americas. While the cars at the nearby Grand Prix facility are new and flashy, the Bold under Brazilian head coach Marcelo Serrano, who had previous spent time with the US U-17 team and full US Virgin Islands national team, is much more blue collar and experienced.
Tied for last in the USL Championship with only 3 goals scored in their six matches, the Bold nevertheless have a 2-0-1 record on their home field. In 1-0 victories over both Phoenix Rising FC and San Antonio FC they came out with a 4-1-4-1 formation and showed a great willingness to concede position and play behind the ball even at home. In the 0-0 draw at home over El Paso Locomotive FC last Sunday they were slightly more on the front foot in a 4-4-2 formation and finding about 50 percent of the possession.
As can be easily determined by looking at the scores above, Austin have yet to goal at home in Bold Stadium. It is always easier to find good results when you do not give up goals. The Bold are tied for first place and the only Western Conference team with 4 clean sheets and led on the field by captain Diego Restrepo in goal and Amobi Okugo and Jermaine Taylor in central defense. These three are the only players to have seen the full 540 minutes over their initial six matches. Restrepo spent the past two seasons leading an equally stout San Antonio FC defense which bedeviled the Monarchs while Olugo and Taylor have significant MLS experience.
32-year old Xavier Báez, who spent 10 seasons in Liga MX with three different squads runs the Bold midfield along with another San Antonio veteran in Kris Tyrpak. Kleber, a 35-year-old Brazilian has two of Austin’s goals and 32-year-old Sonny Guadarrama has the third which was also Goal of the Week winner this week.
The Monarchs continue to have Ricardo Avila, Luis Palma and Joseph Stanley Okumu out due to injury. With a much younger and less experience team, the Monarchs will need to be patient and focused to find the required offensive synergy to not only score goals, but score at a field that has not seen a visitor goal yet this season. Coming off the high of the 3-2 come-from-behind victory over San Antonio at home, Maikel Chang and Jack Blake will be important in bringing out the best of the younger Monarch front line players like Douglas Martinez, Josh Heard, Mata Kacher and Kyle Coffee
With it looking likely that David Ochoa will once again travel with RSL this weekend, it will also be important for the central defense of the Monarchs to support Jordan Pena, who continues to find experience in the defensive midfield, and Evan Finney or Todd Morton who will step up to a starting role in goal.
This match will be streamed on ESPN+ beginning at 6:30 MDT tonight and remain available on the streaming service for later viewing. The Monarchs return home for an afternoon match against Fresno FC on Saturday, May 4th.