Austin FC came back on the road to salvage a draw against FC Dallas, good enough to win the club’s first Copa Tejas! Through twenty-one games, Austin sits in FIRST place in the Western Conference, two points ahead of LAFC, who have two games in hand on Austin.
Several changes to the starting lineup saw Jon Gallagher replace Žan Kolmanič at left back, Nick Lima replacing the injured Hector Jimenez at right back, and Daniel Pereira starting in place of Owen Wolff in the midfield.
Both teams had their chances early on. Less than a minute in Austin forced a turnover and worked it to Pereira, forcing a save from Maarten Paes.
Dallas has two chances of their own, starting with Jesus Ferreira getting in behind the Austin defense and receiving a through ball. Brad Stuver did well to get off his line and block the shot. Later Paul Arriola received a cross and the post, the ball rebounding off Matt Hedges and back off the post, finally cleared by Austin.
In the 21st minute, Diego Fagúndez found Sebastián Driussi on the left side of the penalty area. Driussi cut inside and tried to curl his effort around Paes. Unfortunately, the crossbar decided to keep the match scoreless.
Austin continued to control much of the first half, but ultimately could not make any of their possession count for anything. This seemed to play right into Dallas’ game plan and sending through balls in behind the Austin defense towards Ferreira.
Ruben Gabrielsen and Gallagher made several defensive plays to avoid any real danger from these through balls. Until the 42nd minute. Ferreira got just behind Gabrielsen who did well to recover. Ferreira hit a speculative cross that was able to find Arriola through the legs of Julio Cascante. Arriola convert his chance, Austin 0-1 Dallas.
The first thirty minutes of the second half were frustrating. Austin had a lot of the ball but spent a lot of that time in the dreaded “horseshoe of death” just outside of Dallas’ penalty area. Less than crisp passing resulted in several counterattacks for Dallas.
Stuver and Gabrielsen spared Austin from going two goals down in the 69th minute. Cascante pushed forward deep into Dallas’ half and took a heavy touch, leading to a two-on-one breakaway. Ferreira thankfully made a poor decision to pass to Alan Velasco. Gabrielsen got a piece of both the pass and the shot, the deflection of the shot allowed Stuver to parry it over the net.
This save would prove pivotal, and Austin would even the match up in the 79th minute. Wolff won the back in Dallas’ half, finds Felipe Martins, who finds Driussi. Driussi chips a pass out the left side of the penalty area to Fagúndez. Fagúndez takes a touch, waits for an opening, and curls it past the Dallas keeper. Austin 1-1 Dallas.
Both teams had several chances to score the match winner. Stuver was up to task, keeping several changes out of the back of his net. Both of Austin’s big chances fell to Danny Hoesen, who was unable to convert either.
Final Score: Austin FC 1, FC Dallas 1.
Next up, Austin FC return to Q2 to take on the New York Red Bulls on Sunday, July 24th. The Red Bulls are currently in 3rd place in the Eastern Conference, with 33 points after 20 matches.
This Team Fights Back Yet Again
Yet again, Austin concedes the lead in a match and fights back to earn some points. Last season when this team went down a goal, especially on the road, it was all but over. This season I am starting to expect them to fight back. This was not the prettiest of matches but getting a point out of it is what playoff teams do.
Brad Stuver Saves Us for the Hundredth Time
Brad Stuver is not near the top of the clean sheets table this season, but he has hardly been to blame at all. In fact, he is a huge part of how we have been able to get points in all of these comebacks. On Tuesday, he made that excellent save when we were only 2-1 up. Tonight, he saves Velasco’s effort when we were 0-1 down. Gabrielsen has been a revelation at center back, but even still when Stuver consistently rises to the occasion when this team needs him.
Copa Tejas Win
Texas is officially verde! Diego’s 79th minute equalizer was enough to win the clubs first “trophy”. Despite the Copa Tejas being a supporter’s trophy, it does look to mean something to the players. Next, we turn our attention to keeping Texas verde in the playoffs.
Goal Scoring Summary
- 79’ – Diego Fagúndez (Sebastián Driussi)
- 42’ – Paul Arriola (Jesus Ferreira)
(Cover Photo Credit: Austin FC Instagram)
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