What an appropriate background picture AppleTV chose for our home opener: a pissed off Brad Stuver for what would be a pissed off Austin FC fandom.
I’m trying to turn my rage and disappointment into something constructive. So, I’m choosing to forgo my right as an Oak Collective Member to talk trash about the #4, who-shall-not-be-named, and look at what went wrong with the Verde attack tonight.
We just rejoiced over the front office’s massive investment in D&D, and rightly so, but there was a worrying situation when you look at their numbers. For starters, Sebastian Driussi had the highest number of duels on the entire team tonight! More than Wolffito or Dani, and more than anyone on our backline! And though it’s awesome that he’s humble enough to do whatever it takes… that’s not what he’s being paid for!
Besides that, his .33 XG (I know we’re all supposed to believe it’s a meaningless stat) only confirmed what I was feeling the whole game, he wasn’t seeing enough of the ball in dangerous areas. That’s a problem!
And it’s not a new problem. In our last meltdown (the massacre in LA last November), Driussi had a .02 XG, which meant he only had shot all game. .02 is a number shared in common with Diego—that was his XG vs. St. Louis tonight, and he was only able to get one shot off, too.
And yet, I’m not going to place any blame on the two of them for tonight’s issues, especially because Diego’s assist on the second goal was just a perfect display of give-and-go, one-touch passing with Jonny G! And Driussi’s goal?! Sublime!
But imagine how many more sublime moments he could have given us with more of the ball in the pentalty area!
Even with the massive blunder at the back that cost us the win, a tie was still within reach. But the same thing that killed our attack all night is what led to the fatal third goal: too many touches on the wings!!!
In the 86th minute, Ring played an amazing long diagonal ball to find Rigoni, and he did his best Kolmanic impression by taking a few-too-many pointless touches which led to him getting double-teamed and coughing up possession. Rigoni and Zan killed so much forward momentum tonight by failing to get the ball off their feet quick enough, time and time again.
The amount of times the ball got bogged down on the wings was infuriating. So much forward momentum squandered!
Maybe St. Louis should get some credit for making that happen, or maybe I should give the credit to LAFC, who showed the league how to discombobulate Wolff’s “master strategies.” Either way, it’s back to the drawing board, because a frightening pattern is emerging where our biggest weapons aren’t being set up to succeed.
One other number that scares me: 73.7%
That was Owen Wolff’s passing percentage on the night.
It wasn’t the lowest on the team, but when you look at past wins, you start to see a trend. The guys running the center of the park need to have a passing percentage in the mid-80s to 90s for the team to have a good night.
It’s crucial because of where our center midfielders have possession of the ball. If they make a bad pass in the middle of the park, there’s usually only one backstop before Stuver’s all alone vs. their attackers. The graph shows what I mean:
It also shows ZERO key passes…I’m not sure what Daddy Wolff expects from that position, but I’d like some key passes coming out of the middle. What’s more concerning is what the next graph shows about the passes that he didn’t give away. Behold:
This one’s worrying because it looks like most of Wolffito’s passes are either lateral or backwards.
I’m willing to give the Teen Wolff experiment another go vs. CF Montreal next week (they are in full rebuild mode after all , and the neuroplasticity of a teenager is quite high).
But he’s going to have to do some growing up very fast, because we do have a Designated Player (DP) that spent 75 minutes on the bench tonight while we all watched Owen have a learning experience.
And that disgraced DP? He used the 15 minutes that he got to almost salvage a tie for us, if only Driussi’s header was 2 inches lower.
Okay, enough numbers. I have to end this one on a hopeful note.
Here it is: In The FIFA World Cup 2022 Argentina had to get punched in the face by Saudi Arabia before they went on to lift the trophy, and our very own Argentine CRACK was there to witness it! So everything’s going to work out fine this year.
WHAT AN EMBARASSMENT
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