Austin FC traveled to take on Western Conference foe LAFC. The Verde & Black were looking to flip the script from what happened in the 2022 Western Conference Final at BMO Stadium. But, it ended up being a very similar script, as deja vu stuck with a 3-0 scoreline.
This is a disheartening result given the Verdes’ other 2023 results and a rotated LAFC lineup.
Austin had Leo Väisänen and Owen Wolff back in the starting XI. But, the club looked overmatched for the last 60 minutes of the game.
Let’s look at who were the biggest drop-offs this week and try to find if we can take any positives with who stepped up.
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Who Is Stepping Up?
Brad Stuver still gave some very good moments even though he saw three balls go into his net throughout the night. Stuver had two great back-to-back saves early on the first half, and then some stops in the 2nd half. This game could have been easily 5-0 if Stu wasn’t still doing Stuuuuuu things.
Zan Kolmanic and Jon Gallagher delivered the best chances of the night. Again, it is the defense with the best opportunities. Not something that is ideal for the Austin FC attack.
This loss is not on Zan or Gally. They both were fine. But we need to see more chances from the Austin attack. Gally to move back to the front wing? Becoming a real debate.
Who Is Dropping Off?
Coach Josh Wolff continues to come in with the same tactics. The same tactics that have led to only 6 goals through 6 games. He did make a lineup change as Gyasi Zardes was benched for Maxi Urruti. Diego Fagundez was also back in the starting rotation.
And even with those changes the attack didn’t look anymore vibrant or promising. It was dull anytime Austin had it near the box.
Who is to blame the most? It is hard to say right now.
I think we can look at players who were producing last year and aren’t now. You have to start with No. 14. Diego Fagundez, who so far this season has fans wondering when the Fagu from season 1 and season 2 will show up? So far, he hasn’t. He looked lost out there tonight and was subbed off in minute 71′ for Will Bruin.
Emiliano Rigoni who joined Austin FC as the 2nd highest paid player on the team and in a DP slot, has yet to deliver when it matters on the attack. He still has yet to find his first goal since joining the team in 2022. Another lackluster performance has fans asking if Ethan Finlay or moving Jon Gallagher forward would put this Austin attack in a better position to score goals.
Team chemistry looks to be dropping off this season. Many fans are speculating that there might be a bigger issue going on in the locker room. Has Wolff lost the locker room? What changes does the manager need to make moving forward?
Some fans took to twitter after the match to say that the coach is to blame for the results this season and the hashtag #wolffout is coming back around from the 2021 days.
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Let us know in the comments on your thoughts on who you think is most to blame for these results.
Big match back in Q2 stadium against the Vancouver Whitecaps on Saturday, 7:30 pm (CT). This is a must win to build back some confidence.