Austin FC has been the subject of many surprises in its three-year MLS tenure.
They’ve made a deep run in the playoffs, pulled off multiple comeback victories, and have served as a reminder to never count out the underdogs in soccer.
Unfortunately, Austin FC is subject to their own lesson at times, putting forth a lineup of primarily reserves against the underdog Violette AC last Tuesday night, and paying the price. The 3-0 margin of loss tied for the worst defeat in Austin’s history, but the circumstances under which they did so made it all the more embarrassing for not only the club but the entire league as a whole.
ATX was dominated by the Haitian side, conceding two goals off of headers to Violette
forward Miche-Naider Chery, then conceding a third via an own goal from Austin center back
Amro Tarek that gave Kipp Keller’s week one mistake a run for his money.
Many will write off the loss as an off-night, but there are certainly some long-term concerns that were sparked by the match.
The main problem is seeing how poorly the bench played, especially the defense. The lack of depth on defense has been an ongoing problem for the Verde and Black, and it looks like it may get worse. With Julio Cascante out for the foreseeable future, players such as Tarek, Hector Jimenez, and Nick Lima may be needed to fill in.
If these three players couldn’t keep up with attackers from the Haitian Championship—a league that is ranked 247th best in the world and has not played a regular season since 2021—there’s no telling how they’ll hold up against MLS attacks.
It was an embarrassing performance. Nonetheless, a chance to advance in the CONCACAF Champions League still lies on the horizon for Austin.
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While it’s hard to take many positives away from the match, one thing to keep in mind is that Austin FC spent the match experimenting with reserves.
Just two of the starters for the Verde are regularly featured in the everyday XI, and half of the starters were making their season debut for the team. Austin still has a lot more to give; if Coach Josh Wolff chooses to do so.
If the club boasts their usual starting eleven, I could easily see them giving Violette a scare. Austin has crushed MLS sides by four to five goals in the past, and the quality of attack they have could easily result in upwards of three goals against an inferior opponent.
While Austin is certainly capable of scoring the goals they need to advance, shutting out an opponent and scoring over three goals is no easy task. Austin will need to bring out their best lineup, especially defensively. We saw a terrific defensive effort in both the Montreal match and Saturday night’s RSL match, and it will take a similar performance to definitively shut down Violette. Fox Sports 2
While a tall task lies ahead for Austin, I still don’t expect to see the entire squad out for 90
minutes. I do expect to see Sebastian Driussi and the majority of the starters out for a good amount of time, but rest is still an issue. Austin is coming off three games in seven days, and has two more this upcoming Tuesday and Saturday. The club will still need to rotate its players, but should put forth a more valiant effort to come away with a victory in front of the home crowd.
Austin FC has a tall task ahead of them, but a determined home stadium is behind them Tuesday night. Los Verdes will come out with a reputation to save, and I expect them to put up a good fight.
While I whiffed on the previous leg’s prediction, I predict a 3-1 win for Austin in this one, falling just short of advancing, though I’d be happy to be proven wrong with a major win.
- OUT: Julio Cascante (Adductor)
Unofficial report based on the previous match.
How to Watch Austin FC
Austin FC will play Violette AC at Q2 Stadium—7:00 p.m. (CT) kickoff on Tuesday, March 14.
- Broadcast: Fox Sports 2 (English) and TUDN (Spanish)
Check out the official 2023 Scotiabank Concacaf Champions League tournament schedule.
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