In the end, Austin FC left no doubt what their strongest starting XI is capable of after a 2-1 win over 5th-place Real Salt Lake at Q2 Stadium.
It also marked a bit of history for the club: the first time they’ve achieved back-to-back wins at Q2 Stadium. Last weekend El Tree triumphed over Chicharito’s LA Galaxy 2-0 on national TV.
To Wolff’s credit, the freshness of those key players that stayed home against Colorado on Wednesday showed as early as the 17th minute when Sebastian Driussi launched a missile at RSL goalkeeper Ochoa who parried it away — right to the outstretched foot of a streaking Dominguez who put it squarely in the net.
On the other side of the pitch, Dominguez capitalized again in the 55th minute when Diego Fagundez sucked in the RSL keeper and made a timely cross to Cecigol for the tap-in — and a resulting 2-0 lead.
Cecilio Dominguez on scoring a pair of goals: “Honestly, it’s great to finally produce a game at home. This is our second win in a row at home. We’re obviously still behind in the table, but we’re just going to keep going and keep trying our best that we can and playing the best we can.”
RSL clawed back with a Damir Kreilach score in the 64th minute to make it 2-1. But, the red and blue rarely posed a threat in this match, tallying just 9 total shots with 3 on target.
Thank Ring, Cascante, Romana, and the rest of the defensive crew for that stat line. Stuver had a pretty quiet afternoon with their help.
ATX on the other hand looked dominating. The Oaks finished with 18 total shots and half of those were on target. Much different than the 10-13 shots on goal, and 3-4 on target, that we usually see.
Takeaways from the RSL match:
- Wolff has a point about resting key players during a three-game week, but so do his critics. From the get-go of this “three-pack” week, Wolff’s primary objective was always to secure wins at home. He did just that, earning +6 out of a possible +9 this week.
That came at the expense of a jarring Colorado match where he left Driussi, Djitte, and Fagundez at home, while benching Stuver, Cecilio, and others. It was like waving the white flag as soon as the starting XI was released.
The lesson here might be to not rest all your offensive (and defensive) weapons simultaneously, but instead rely on the analytics to tell you who truly needs a rest and who could actually benefit from more MLS match play.
- MLS referees do not like Austin FC. One thing is clear after today’s RSL match, the Verdes are getting hard done by officials match-after-match, and there’s no hiding it.
In this match, a penalty AWARDED in the box was rescinded after VAR review. At this point it’s laughable. Djitte was not only held, but also clipped on the heal by RSL. The referee who was in a perfect position to make the original call, instead chose to reverse it upon VAR review.
Maybe it’s the fact that we’re new to the league or at the bottom of the table, but ATXFC coach Josh Wolff sums it up best “We’ve been on the wrong side of it way too often, and it’s somewhat disrespectful. But as I say to the players, we’re the new team to the party right now, we don’t have the points that other teams have, and this is a reflection of it.”
- Austin FC has true goal-scorers now and the next DP needs to come on defense. Admit it, Matt Besler was never meant to be Austin’s long-term CB. Romana is a baby. The first off-season move Los Verdes need to make is to sign a designated player contract for the center back position. As long as Wolff maintains his play-from-the-back style, a DP in the back is critical. What that means for Pochettino, who knows?
Up next for Austin FC soccer
Austin FC goes out on a high note for a two-week break before 7th-ranked Minnesota comes to town on Oct. 16. Expect a lot of player’s Instagram posts to include boating, fishing, paddle boarding, and playing with the baby at home. (In Cecilio’s case, it may be his new puppy lol.)