Austin FC continued their hot start to the season, putting 5 more past a leaky Inter Miami CF side. Through two games, ATXFC find themselves in first place in the Western Conference on goal difference before the LA Galaxy and Portland Timbers kick off tonight.
The five-goal outing was accentuated by braces from both Sebastián Driussi and Ethan Finlay. Driussi coolly buried a cross from Diego Fagúndez on the volley to put Austin up 1-0 in the 22nd minute.
Just four minutes later, Julio Cascante lost his man in the box and headed ATXFC to a 2-0 on a wonderfully chipped ball from Žan Kolmanič.
Just after the break, Driussi intercepted a pass about 40 yards from goal. The play worked its way to Fagúndez, who attempted a pass across goal to an awaiting Cecilo Domínguez. The ball bounced off a defender, finding Driussi making a run into the box. Driussi finished again on the volley with the outside of his boot, putting ATXFC out of sight and 3 goals up.
Miami would get a consolation goal in the 53rd minute after a defensive lapse as Alex Ring’s backwards pass found Gonzalo Higuaín on the edge of the box. Higuaín found Leonardo Campana, who buried Miami’s best chance of the evening.
Just nine minutes later, Finlay notched his first goal for ATXFC from an Alex Ring cross. Finlay then doubled his goal tally in the 90th minute with a powerful strike across the keeper from right to left, winding up in the top left corner of the net.
Like last week, Austin found attacking success down the wings as Fagúndez, Domínguez, Maxi Urruti, and Driussi all looked hungry for goals. Miami played a 5-3-2 with two wingbacks and played very deep when out of possession. The wingbacks kept the wings defended early in the first half.
To counter these wingbacks, ATXFC’s attackers made devastating runs off the shoulders of Miami’s defenders and into channels between defenders. This was a welcome change to Austin’s sometimes anemic attack last season, where Austin was not able to break down defenses that sit back at times.
Later in the first half Austin attacked Miami’s young (17 years old!) left wingback, Noah Allen. Over and over again, Fagúndez got goalside of Allen and delivered dangerous balls into the box.
At half time, Miami boss Phil Neville subbed out Allen for an attacking player. This move puzzlingly forced Brek Shea out on the left side of defense. Fagúndez, and then later Ring and Finlay found ample space in and around Shea.
Much like last week, there were several opportunities for Miami to punish Austin’s defensive mistakes. Despite making Austin pay for one of those mistakes, it could have worse if not for poor finishing and decent recovery by Austin’s defense.
Final Score: Austin FC 5, Inter Miami CF 1.
Next up, Austin FC travel for their first away match of the season to take on the Portland Timbers next Saturday, March 12th at Providence Park.
Shots on target MUCH better
Last week I pointed out that although ATXFC had 19 total shots, only 5 of them wound up on target. Today Austin recorded just 8 shots, however 6 were on target with 5 winding up in the back of the net. Now that is clinical.
Domination through and through
It is still unclear just how good ATXFC is. They made this Miami team look like a Wooden Spoon contender. Coming into this season, this game was meant to be a good indicator for what to expect from ATXFC this season. It’s safe to say either ATXFC is better than we expected, Miami is worse than we expected, or (my personal choice) both. Austin FC out-possessed, out-passed, and out-dribbled Miami. Next week will be a true test on the road against a seasoned Portland side.
Driussi is a force
Driussi was not only far and away the best Argentine on the pitch today, he was also simply the best player out there. Not to take away from other excellent performances, but the man was everywhere. He was dangerous in attack and brilliant at holding possession, beating one or two (or three, or four) men, and advancing the ball into dangerous positions. If Driussi continues to play like he has these first two games, I feel ATXFC will be in excellent shape to fight for a playoff spot this season.
Austin FC Goal Scoring Summary
- 22’ – Sebastián Driussi (assisted by Diego Fagúndez)
- 26’ – Julio Cascante (assisted by Žan Kolmanič)
- 51’ – Sebastián Driussi (unassisted)
- 64’ – Ethan Finlay (assisted by Alexander Ring)
- 90′ – Ethan Finlay (assisted by Diego Fagúndez)Top of Form
Goal Scoring Summary – Inter Miami CF
- 53’ – Leonardo Campana (assisted by Gonzalo Higuaín)
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