Austin FC hosted Real Salt Lake in a game that took over four hours due to inclement weather. It was a rough night all around as the fans had to sit through the two hour delay, only to see the team fall 2-1.
Josh Wolff decided to come out in a 4-4-2 formation this match. This raised questions from fans, alongside choices to go with Rodney Redes, Jhohan Valencia, and Maxi Urruti all in the Starting XI.
This game started the worst way possible as they gave up an early goal in the 15th minute. RSL is a team that likes to play defensive-minded in their history and typically do well when getting a lead.
The rest of the match was trying to cross the ball in for chances on goal and many disruptions to game flow as RSL time wasted and the referees calling yellow cards on everyone.
Austin just couldn’t seem to get comfortable until it was too late.
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Who Is Stepping Up?
It is hard finding a lot of positives after that performance. One player that impressed me throughout the match was Julio Cascante. He wasn’t just good on defense but managed to work himself into the attack and scored his first goal on the season in stoppage time.
Another player who is constantly playing well is Dani Pereira. He was winning balls, pushing it forward, making accurate passes, and good with the ball at his feet.
Nothing new with Dani, and he is getting recognized for it as he is getting called up to the Venezuela National Team.
I think Emiliano Rigoni looked more active than he has in previous matches. He created a few chances and was in position often throughout night.
The team looked almost immediately improved when Sebastian Driussi came on for Rodney Redes at the half.
He had a few really close chances to score on the night but couldn’t finish. He looks almost 100% and hopefully we can see him start next match. They might choose to keep him on the bench because of the international break after this week. This would give him plenty of time to get back to game fitness.
Who Is Dropping Off?
The poor performances were more than a few to go around. A lot could be said about Josh Wolff not putting the guys in the best formation and positions to succeed. But, let’s look at the players that struggled the most in the match.
Rodney Redes was largely absent in the first 45 minutes. He only had one chance created. He was subbed off at half for Driussi.
Jon Gallagher had a rare rough night. This might be due to him having to play more on that backline instead of having the freedom to go up more in the previous formations.
Diego Fagundez looked uncomfortable and not himself for much of the match. He had trouble winning the ball and on a breakaway wasn’t able to find space for his own shot but instead found Driussi and he sailed it.
Coach Wolff decided to go back to Maxi Urruti over Gyasi Zardes. Urruti had zero shots on the night but was never in a real opportunity to shoot. Jhojan Valencia and Alex Ring also had nights they would like to move on from.
Wolff did a good job recognizing the players struggling and getting them subbed off in the 2nd half. But after going down 2-0 it felt too late.
The real question is why Wolff isn’t putting out the best lineups and formation from the jump. This seems to be a recurring theme throughout much of this season.
The Verde and Black seek to get three points on the road against Sporting Kansas City from Children’s Mercy Park at 7:30 on Saturday.
Can ATX come away with points against a struggling SKC team? Or will Austin make another bad team look good?
Let us know what you think in the comments below.