Austin FC hosted the Vancouver Whitecaps under the verde lights at Q2 Stadium. Those lights did not turn verde near as much as the home fans desired, as the home team was held scoreless in a 0-0 draw.
Fans were hopeful Austin would return to their 2022 ways on the attack against the Whitecaps. While there were a few glimpses of the team that we all remembered, ATXFC was still unable to finish its chances on goal. But not all hope was lost as the defense held and the Verde and Black secured a point.
The only change to the Starting XI from LAFC was Nick Lima on for Zan Kolmanic, who is out for the season due to a torn ACL.
Even though it was a disappointing night, there were a few positives to takeaway from a night otherwise full of frustration.
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Who Is Stepping Up?
The YETI Man of the Match was rightfully given to Brad Stuver. He earned his second clean sheet of the season. Vancouver had four shots on target (13 total) and Stu did all he possibly could to keep it 0-0. Stuver had his save of the night in the 60th minute as he laid out to save a shot to the far post by Vancouver’s Brian White. Stuuu continues to be very dependable between the posts for Austin.
The backline as a whole played well enough throughout the night. Jon Gallagher did a good job on the wing throughout the match — minus one misplaced pass toward Stuver that almost led to a goal. Nick Lima had a key play of the night as he hustled back on a Vancouver breakaway to win the ball in dangerous territory. Alex Ring continues to step up and do what is needed at center back alongside Leo Väisänen.
I think given the injuries to the backline, seeing them pull off a clean sheet is something to be very positive about.
Dani Pereira continues in a consistent form. He was doing well, winning balls and making smooth passes in the midfield. Dani delivered a great shot during the 86th minute but it was met with a great save near the top center of the goalpost.
I don’t think I can talk about who is dropping off without first mentioning the performance of Rodney Redes when he came on for Emiliano Rigoni in the 73rd minute. Redes delivered two beautiful crosses into the box in his few opportunities, but neither was able to be finished off. Redes created some of the best chances on the night and I think earned a spot in the Stepping Up category this week. Should we see more of Redes going forward?
Who Is Dropping Off?
Another game and another night that Emiliano Rigoni is kept off the score sheet. He has yet to score his first goal for Austin FC. As a DP attacker that is not good enough, frankly. I will keep him on this list until he starts to produce goals and assists.
Diego Fagundez started and played until he went down with a groin injury in the 55th minute. At times Fagu looked better tonight, but he came up short in a golden chance in the 50th minute when he delivered a right-footed shot to the center of the box for an easy save.
He continues to struggle to create and finish chances. We will have to wait and see the medical report later in the week and hope he is not out for any extended amount of time.
Owen Wolff struggled to find open spots and move the ball forward in the midfield. The young midfielder has had bright moments this year, but still feels like he should be left as just a good sub option for now. Sofiane Djeffal looked good coming on for him. Austin began to look more dangerous on the attack almost immediately following the substitution. Should Djeffal start over Teen Wolff next match?
Maxi Urruti gets the start at the top. I enjoy watching Maxi, based solely on the fact that his motor is always going and he always applies pressure on the opposition when on defense. But, he was unable to finish chances again.
We need our attack to be able to score goals, especially at the striker position. Maxi hasn’t shown to be a consistent goal scorer, but Gyasi Zardes has not been able to finish at all up top. Who do you all want to see start? Maxi or Zardes?
While there is surely disappointment in a 0-0 draw at home, I do think you can come out of this game with a few more positives than in recent weeks.
Austin FC travels on the road to Carson next Saturday as they take on struggling LA Galaxy at 9:30 on Apple TV. Will Austin get the attack going in Carson?
Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
Cover Photo courtesy Austin FC