Austin FC hangs on to a 2-1 victory against Sporting Kansas City, despite being depleted by injuries.
The match started well as they scored two goals in a span of three minutes as Gyasi Zardes scored in the 17th minute, and Ethan Finlay doubled the lead in the 19th minute.
The rest of the match showed the grit of this team, as Dani Pereira went down with a shoulder strain in the 13th minute, followed by Sebastian Driussi leaving due to tightness in his hamstring in the 43rd minute. With arguably the two most important players off the pitch, the team was forced to buckle down and fight for the 2-1 win.
The starting XI was as expected, with Zardes back at striker. The only other change from Wednesday was Dani’s return after serving his yellow accumulation suspension.
Who Is Stepping Up?
With Dani and Driussi subbed off, other players were forced to step up if we wanted to hold on. And one who stepped up was Owen Wolff.
Teen Wolff has been a player who has not made a huge impact this past month. But, for this match, he was all over the place. He was making passes, winning duels, and making good tackles. A force on both sides.
Jon Gallagher had a great night as he was running all around in one of the hottest matches thus far. He finished the match with 77 touches as he did his job in both defense and offense.
Ethan Finlay scored the second goal that gave this team some cushion. He continues to show that, with Emiliano Rigoni healthy or not, this is Finlay’s spot, and he earned his role as a starter for this team.
Kipp Keller looked to have had his best match thus far. He had a few good clearances as the ball got into dangerous territory, and he really did his job in the second half to make sure this lead stayed. Kudos to him for continuing to show improvement.
Gyasi Zardes got the party started with his early goal. This one came from his feet, as he shot it off his left foot. This was crucial after losing Dani just a few minutes earlier.
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Who Is Dropping Off?
I’d say the starting XI all had good matches, as it really took a complete team effort to secure the three points.
I definitely could tell the lack of depth, specifically with Maxi Urruti coming on for Zardes in the 46th minute, and Jhojan Valencia coming on for Dani in the 13th.
Urruti looked less threatening on attack than Zardes. But he had fresh legs, which this team needed to hold on to. And Valencia, while not bad, is way more conservative than Dani, which influences the movement and attack of this whole team.
Another thing that I believed dropped off was our chances in Leagues Cup. Going into the match, it was already a question of how seriously the team should take it with our current depth.
After last night and the injuries, I believe it isn’t even a debate. We have to focus on getting these guys healthy so that come October, we are ready for the MLS playoffs. It should be interesting to see how Josh Wolff plays the Leagues Cup, and who receives minutes and who gets rested.
Austin FC starts the League Cup Friday night at 7:30 at Q2 Stadium against Liga MX side Mazatlan FC.
Let us know what you think about the win and what you think about moving forward. Should we take Leagues Cup seriously, or get rested and healthy?
Let us know what you think in the comments below.
Cover image courtesy of Apple TV