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Austin FC at Charlotte FC Betting Preview

The two newest MLS teams meet for the first time on Thursday as the 2021 expansion team Austin FC, travels to face the 2022 expansion side Charlotte FC. Austin sits in third place in the Western Conference, while Charlotte is in 10th place in the East.

Thursday’s game is set for 7:00 p.m. ET at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte. The game will air on local TV in both markets and stream on ESPN+.

For a while this season, Austin sat atop the West, but they have just one win in the last four games. Charlotte has already fired its first head coach but has avoided the major slumps that other recent expansion teams have suffered in year one.

Charlotte is favored in the game at +115, with Austin at +215.

Austin FC Can Score Goals

At one point this season, Austin won four in a row, and they started the season with six wins from their first nine games and 22 goals scored. Since then, they have just two wins in the last seven games but have still kept scoring with nine goals in those seven games. Overall on the season, Austin has scored 31 goals in MLS action with 20 goals allowed.

Sebastian Driussi is among the MLS leaders with nine goals on the season, while Diego Fagundez leads the league with seven assists. He has added three goals, and Maxi Uuti has scored five times on the season.

Goalkeeper Brad Stuver anchors the defense. He has started 14 of the 16 MLS games with 17 goals allowed and 43 saves. Stuver has eight wins and four clean sheets, and Austin has only lost two of his starts.

Austin is 4-3 on the road this season with one draw. They won their last road game at Montreal on June 18. They lost Daniel Pereira to two early yellow cards, but Urruti’s goal in the 67th minute provided a 1-0 win even with Austin down to 10 men.

Last weekend they fell behind 2-0 to FC Dallas at home before rallying for a 2-2 draw. Driussi scored in the 72nd minute, and Danny Hoesen tied the game in the 85th minute, immediately after subbing into the game.

Charlotte Playing Well at Home

Charlotte has played two straight road games with a win and a draw. Now they return home, where they have won six of their last seven matches. On the season, they have 11 goals at home and only six on the road.

For the season, Charlotte has been outscored 21-17, but in the last seven games, they are even in goals and haven’t allowed more than two goals since the season-opening 3-0 loss at D.C. United. The offense has scored in five straight games, and Charlotte only has one three-goal game on the season, with a win against New England on March 19.

Karol Swiderski leads Charlotte on the season with four goals. Andre Shinvashiki and Ben Bender both have three goals scored. Bender has added three assists, while Christian Ortiz has two assists.

Goalkeeper Kristijan Kahlina struggled early in the season and has allowed 19 goals over 16 games. He has five clean sheets and 53 saves and has allowed one goal or less in all but one home game.

Guzman Corujo captained Charlotte and scored the lone goal last weekend in a 2-1 loss at CF Montreal. Shinyashiki scored the goal in Columbus in the prior game, earning a 1-1 draw.

Austin FC at Charlotte FC Pick and Prediction

Austin needs a win to keep up with LAFC, who got another win on Wednesday night. They can also pass Real Salt Lake and get back into second place with a win.

Meanwhile, Charlotte surprisingly finds itself in a race for a playoff spot with the season nearing the halfway point. They could end the week sitting in a playoff spot or as far down as 13th place with a Sunday game in Houston.

The way these teams have played recently, a draw seems to be the best bet option with a 1-1 game likely on the horizon.

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