For week two of the MLS season, the Verde and Black took a trip to Colorado, or Denverde as fans called it, to take on the Rapids. In a dazzling second half comeback, Austin FC was able to secure a 3-1 victory, making it the first ever win for the club in franchise history.
Head Coach Josh Wolff lined his team up in a standard 4-3-3 formation this week. Stuver remained in goal while the backline saw a slight adjustment. Sweat, Romaña and Lima remained at their positions, but as for Matt Besler, he was replaced by Julio Cascante. Besler was in Austin for the birth of his child and therefore did not travel with the team. A puzzling last minute change saw Fagundez start alongside Pereira and Ring in the midfield. Dominguez and Hoesen remained up top but this time were joined by hard-charging Jared Stroud.
Questions surrounded the absence of Designated Player Tomás Pochettino as he had travelled with the team but was omitted from the game day sheet. During the game, the team officially clarified the situation through a press release which read:
We were recently made aware of a potential league-related administrative issue regarding Tomás Pochettino’s registration. While the league believes there are no issues, they have requested we remove him from the starting lineup out of an abundance of caution. We are hoping to receive resolution shortly
His absence was initially felt as Austin would get off to a slow start. Things would get worse and in the 20th minute, Ben Sweat was stretchered off after a collision with Michael Barrios. The left back was visibly in pain and appeared to be grabbing his knee throughout the whole ordeal. The young Slovenian defender Kolmanič come on as his replacement a few moments later.
The Rapids would be the first team to score. In the 36th minute, Andre Shinyashiki would head the ball off of a corner, bouncing softly into the net. During the set piece, Austin had clustered too many players around the penalty spot and had failed to mark either goal posts.
Down 1-0 at HT, ATXFC failed to really impact the game and were in desperate need of some adjusting.
Early in the second half, the game seemed to open up. Austin, still uneasy at the back, started to put together chances in front of goal. This would pay off and eventually Diego Fagundez leveled the score in the 59th minute. ATXFC’s FIRST EVER GOAL is one for Verde lore. A great collective effort in which Pereira breaks on the ball, finds Stroud who hammered it across goal to Fagundez at the back post.
In the 66th minute, Wolff would make a double substitution, bringing on Gallagher and Redes in place of Hoesen and Stroud. Just moments later, Cecilio Dominguez would break the deadlock battering the ball emphatically into the bottom right corner. The Verde pressed deep into Colorado territory and Dominguez capitalized quickly off of the recovery. Momentum was seized completely in Austin’s favor. Five minutes later, Dominguez would score a second — off of another beautiful executed one-timer. The visiting Verde squad relentlessly pursued a fourth goal while controlling the ball for the last 20 minutes.
The 3-1 lead held up for the final score. Austin FC came alive in the second half and would win in very exciting fashion. Coming off of such a high, players and fans can certainly carry this energy over to their next matchup against a struggling Minnesota United side.