Austin FC gave fans a glimpse of what the future might look like with true strikers, putting together a masterful 2-0 performance against LA Galaxy at Q2 Stadium on Sunday night.
Even more improbable, the club was able to pitch a shutout without the services of key players Alex Ring (suspended) and Matt Besler (concussion).
The Verde defense kept Chicharito and co. scoreless, but El Tree’s strikers were certainly clutch. Moussa Djitte, an MLS U22 Initiative summer transfer, scored in the 64′ and hometown kid McKinze Gaines sealed it in the 79′ with a banger. ATXFC made the most of 12 shots, putting five on goal and two in the back of the net.
Here’s what Austin FC head coach Josh Wolff said after the LA Galaxy match.
Wolff’s thoughts on the game
“From the start tonight it was a very collective, professional performance. Sure, we didn’t have the ball as much, but we’ve learned a few things — that we can’t just press around the field, high pressing, and make the field big on ourselves. And we did a good job of that. Sebastian Driussi and Moussa did a good job when we did go and when we didn’t go getting compact. Certainly, Diego, Tomas, Cecilio, and Dani did a good job clogging up the middle. Really proud of our guys work tonight. Certainly they deserved the three points in all honesty.”
“I thought for us our expected goals were above theirs. We took the two goals really well, so there’s a lot of things we’ll be able to talk about.”
“Our adjustments at half were really good as well. The coaches did a good job of getting that to the players and getting us to understand how we could build a little more pressure and release and still protect the middle, so plenty of praise for a lot of guys.”
On McKinse Gaines’ breakout performance
“McKinse Gaines was in our mind from the get-go because if we could keep this game in a good spot, even or grab the lead, we knew we were going to put him in there. He scores goals. He’s got elusiveness. He’s got speed. He’s going to run behind the line. He’s going to push that backline. He took his goal extremely well. Really, really nice goal.”
On having a striker like Moussa Djitte
“Having Moussa is extremely influential. We haven’t had a striker since week 5, week 6. We’ve utilized Cecilio in different ways and Jon Gallagher in different ways. But you can see what it means when you have a real striker that can occupy center backs. That has a physicality. That plays on both sides of the line. It’s very different.”
What can the team build upon from this match?
“Discipline. Willingness. Organization. Detail. All of that. And again we don’t get it all right, all the time in our first year, but there’s a lot of good things we’ve been building upon all year. It starts with the willingness of the group to keep coming together…to have a real good attitude and find ways to grind and compete to understand what this game is going to look like.”
Looking ahead to this week
“We got a quick turnaround on Wednesday and Saturday, so we’ll have to find some freshness over the next couple games and be ready for that game in altitude at Colorado.”