Austin FC found the lone goal to take all three points away from home against Charlotte FC. Through seventeen games, Austin sits in second place in the Western Conference, five points behind LAFC.
Felipe Martins kept his starting spot in the midfield in place of Daniel Pereira. Danny Hoesen replaced the injured Maxi Urruti in the center of attack. Nick Lima replaced Hector Jimenez at right back. Finally, Jhohan Romaña made his first appearance this season at center back, replacing the injured Julio Cascante.
I won’t say the first half was boring, but both teams congested the midfield, and were less than sharp in attack. As a result, most of the play took place in the middle third of the pitch.
A few stats from the first half: there were only five combined shots (Austin 2, Charlotte 3), only one shot on target (Austin), and combined xG was only 0.37 (Austin with 0.21, Charlotte with 0.16). I did manage to stay awake, despite these stats. First half ends, Austin FC 0-0 Charlotte FC.
The first flurry of attacking activity came in the 53rd minute at Austin’s net. Christian Ortíz put an attempt at a back post cross off the post. This was immediately followed by Ruben Gabrielsen blocked a rocket from Christian Fuchs and then clearing a ball headed down in front of goal.
After absorbing 5-10 minutes of pressure from Charlotte, Austin hit back. Charlotte misplayed a clearance out of their own penalty area. The ball fell to Lima, who played a square pass to Daniel Pereira about 25 yards from goal. Pereira took one touch and hit a beautiful knuckleball off the crossbar, then down on the goal line, then back up to the crossbar, and in the back of the net. Austin FC 1-0 Charlotte FC.
The rest of the match was characterized by Austin sitting back, allowing pressure, and trying to play on the counterattack. On another night, perhaps Charlotte finds the equalizer, but they were less than sharp all night. Charlotte never put anything dangerous on target.
Final Score: Austin FC 1, Charlotte FC 0.
Next up, Austin FC travel to Denver to take on the Colorado Rapids on Monday, July 4th. The Colorado Rapids are currently in 12th place in the Western Conference, with 19 points after 16 matches.
That Daniel Pereira Goal
Daniel Pereira’s goal was a thing of beauty. Personally, my favorite goals are those that go in off the crossbar. The fact that this shot hit the crossbar twice – chefs kiss.
Josh Wolff Had a Plan and it Worked
It was pretty clear from the start that Josh Wolff set his team up to keep the match scoreless and try to grab a goal. It was not the most beautiful soccer to watch, but it does not have to be. The midfield was so compact that Charlotte had a difficult time moving play from defense to attack for the entire first half. The second half was a more open contest, but even still, Austin kept 10 men behind the ball. Austin’s defense bent, and bent a lot, but did not break. These types of victories are promising for our playoff hopes.
The Battle of SuperDraft Studs
Okay okay, it was not so much of a battle between Ben Bender and Kipp Keller this time around. However, it is clear that in three, four, five years these two will likely be stars in this league. For being so young, Bender shows excellent awareness and visualizes danger in the final third very well. Similarly, although he has some positional issues, Keller shows great ability to determine where danger is and recovers very well. Really excited for future battles between these two.
Goal Scoring Summary – Austin FC
- 62’ – Daniel Pereira (Nick Lima)
(Cover Photo Credit: Austin FC Instagram)
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