Austin FC played a controlled match, earning all three points at home against the Houston Dynamo. Through twenty games, Austin sits in FIRST place in the Western Conference, one point ahead of LAFC. LAFC does not play their 20th match until Sunday.
Several changes to the starting lineup saw Žan Kolmanič replace Jon Gallagher at left back, Hector Jimenez replace Nick Lima at right back, Sebastián Driussi replace Felipe Martins in the midfield, and Maxi Urruti replace Danny Hoesen in the number nine position. Also notable that Owen Wolff started, rather than Daniel Pereira, in the midfield.
Houston struck first in the 11th minute. Adalberto Carrasquilla found space in behind Jimenez, and out-muscled Julio Cascante on the left wing. He then cut inside and hit a shot hard and low beating Brad Stuver between his legs. Austin 0-1 Houston.
Austin hit back immediately, in the 15th minute. Driussi drew a foul just outside the box from Teenage Hadebe. From the resulting free kick, Diego Fagúndez curled his effort up and over the wall, placing his shot in the upper right corner. Austin 1-1 Houston.
Several minutes later Jimenez went down with a non-contact injury, holding either his lower abdomen or groin. Jimenez looked in a lot of pain, wishing him a speedy recovery. He was replaced by Nick Lima.
The rest of the second half was mostly characterized by both teams attempting through in behind the oppositions defensive line. Neither team enjoyed much success doing this. Houston was content in sitting back, playing with three defensive-minded midfielders, and proved difficult to break down.
The only real opportunity fell to Driussi. Kolmanič found Driussi with a cross, but Driussi failed to keep his headed effort down and his attempt landed on top of the goal. Halftime: Austin 1-1 Houston.
The second half started out much the same with neither team really threatening. Much of the match continued to be played in the Houston half, and that persistence would pay off for Austin.
Driussi won possession back high up the pitch, beat one Dynamo midfielder, and found Urruti out on the left side of the penalty area. Urruti took one touch inside and curled a perfect shot just inside the far post. Austin 2-1 Houston.
Despite having a bit of possession in Austin’s half, it would get worse for Houston. Austin managed to work through Houston’s press. Urruti found Ethan Finlay out of the right wing, who played an excellent cross to the back post. Alex Ring met the cross, heading over the Houston keeper. Austin 3-1 Houston.
Houston nearly made it interesting in the 84th minute. Smooth passing between Hector Herrera, Darwin Quintero, and Fafà Picault. This passing found Picault 1-on-1 with Stuver, but Stuver was up to the task and made an excellent save. Cascante did enough to deal with several follow-up attempts, preserving Austin’s two-goal advantage.
The rest of the match was back and forth, and frenetic. The best chances fell to Picault and to Rodney Redes. Neither were able to convert. Gabrielsen thwarted several attempts by Picault to put Stuver under pressure.
Final Score: Austin FC 3, Houston Dynamo 1.
Next up, Austin FC travel to Frisco to take on FC Dallas on Saturday, July 16th. FC Dallas are currently in 4th place in the Western Conference, with 28 points after 19 matches.
Austin FC’s First All-Star
Earlier today, Sebastián Driussi was named to the 2022 MLS All-Star squad making him Austin FC’s first all-star. Well deserved, to say the least. Yet another goal involvement tonight (the assist on Urruti’s) curler puts Driussi on 16 goal involvements for the season. He now has 11 goals, and 5 assists.
40 Points from 20 matches
In Austin’s first season we earned 31 points during the entire 34 game season. This season we are averaging two points per game and are sitting on 40 points through 20 matches. Now that is quite turnaround. This team is good, very good. My personal expectations for this season was to push for a playoff spot. It’s looking more and more likely that not only will Austin make the playoffs but may even get a home playoff match. Q2 rockin’ in the playoffs? Sign me up!
Copa Tejas Win
We knew going in that this Saturday’s game would be for Copa Tejas, regardless of tonight’s result. Earning 3 points tonight does give us an advantage in Saturday’s matchup. We can now win OR draw to win Copa Tejas, where Dallas must win. Time to turn Texas verde.
Goal Scoring Summary
- 15’ – Diego Fagúndez (unassisted)
- 57’ – Maxi Urruti (Sebastián Driussi)
- 70’ – Alex Ring (Ethan Finlay)
- 11’ – Adalberto Carrasquilla (unassisted)
(Cover Photo Credit: Austin FC Instagram)
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