Player Performances After Matchday 14: Austin FC vs Houston Dynamo

Austin FC traveled to Shell Energy Stadium and fell 2-1 against the Houston Dynamo. It was a game of ups and downs. And one of the biggest disappointments happened before the match even started.

The Starting XI raised eyebrows and seemed to not make much sense. Josh Wolff threw out a backline that only had one natural CB starting.

Austin FC lineup vs Houston \ Courtesy Apple TV

Coach Wolff seems to have settled on his starting striker for now by playing Gyasi Zardes at the top. He was joined on the wings by Emiliano Rigoni and Ethan Finlay. The midfield featured the pairing of Dani Pereira and Soffiane Djeffal.

Then the real question marks come in trying to figure out why Wolff chose this lineup.

Hector Jimenez started in place of Jon Gallagher. And Nick Lima formed a three-CB crew in the back alongside Julio Cascante and Alex Ring. The Lima decision makes absolutely zero sense when you have two other options at CB that can play it in their natural positions.

We did see Aleksandar Radovanovic play, but not until Ring went down with a groin injury. This is now the third groin injury to hit this team, as Diego Fagundez and Sebastian Driussi went down with similar injuries.

Driussi was listed as questionable but ultimately was left off the starting lineup, and Diego Fagundez came in off the bench as Wolff did not give him the starting nod.

Who Is Stepping Up?

Gyasi Zardes has three headers in three straight games for the Verde and Black. This goal tallied his 100th career MLS goal, coming in the 22nd minute off of a beautiful cross by Nick Lima that hit Zardes and had Dynamo defenders ball-watching.

Lima even though played out of position had an overall pretty solid game. He was good on the attack coming up from the back and was solid in defense.

I thought Dani Pereira was good again. He has played almost the entire season for Austin FC, and I am worried about the groin injury bug and tired legs that Wolff needs to find a way to provide more rest for Dani. But can this team survive a match right now without him? He brings so much to the table.

Diego Fagundez came on for Ethan Finlay in the 63rd minute. This is more than the few minutes we have seen Wolff give him in recent games. He looked fit and ready to play. Rigoni and Finlay looked poor tonight on the wings, and Fagundez boosted the attack almost immediately as he took the field.

It makes me wonder what the holdup is with Fagundez. Why does Wolff think he is not fit to start when we aren’t getting other great contributions in the attack? His leadership and composure are needed on this team, and we need to see more of him sooner.

If you purchase through our links, we earn a commission that will help support our content.

Who Is Dropping Off?

Emiliano Rigoni seemed invisible out there for most of the match. He only had one shot on the night and was zero for nine on completing crosses throughout the night. Not a good night for him.

Ethan Finlay also didn’t add much as he was zero for three on completing crosses and didn’t create a chance all night. This is not a formula that works to get the attack going. Both of these performances puts an urgency to get Fagundez back in the starting rotation.

Hector Jimenez started over Gallagher and only played the first half as he struggled to win the ball and move forward. Coach Wolff recognized it and did something he rarely does — make a half-time substitution.

Overall, it was not a good night for Josh Wolff.

I know we are talking about the players performances here, but those are affected by situations and tactics that the manager puts them in. And I don’t believe Josh Wolff put this team in a situation to give them the best chance to win.

It would have been interesting to see how this game would have played out if Diego, Gallagher, and Radovanovic would have all started. I don’t believe it could have put us in a worse position to get points.

After the U.S. Open Cup exit and now losing every derby match this season thus far, the frustrations of the Verde fanbase is growing. I see the #WolffOut army growing by the day.

Will Josh Wolff turn it around or is he a manager that we will never compete for trophies under?

Austin FC will host Minnesota United at Q2 Stadium on Wednesday at 7:30 pm. Will Fagundez start? Will Driussi be made available off the bench?

Let us know what you think in the comments below.

Cover image courtesy Apple TV

Success! You're on the list.

One comment

  1. Wolff needs to go. He has repeatedly made stupid line up and substitution decisions

Comments are closed.