Austin FC lost a game that many felt they got robbed in by a score of 2-1 to the Seattle Sounders.
The game changed when Emiliano Rigoni looked to have scored as he sent the ball in, but Seattle goalkeeper Stefan Frei bounced it out. No goal was called, even though the video board at Q2 showed replays in slow motion on repeat for a minute or two showing the ball crossing the line.
The lineup was interesting…to say the least. Without Dani Pereira due to a suspension from his red card following the Dallas match, Coach Wolff decided not to start Alex Ring. He started Jhojan Valencia instead with Owen Wolff and Sebastian Driussi in the midfield.
The fact that Alex Ring is not starting is shameful when he is clearly a top player on this team and better than both Valencia and Wolff.
Leo Vaisanen did not make the starting lineup, as Wolff decided to return with the Julio Cascante and Matt Hedges pairing.
Memo Rodriguez got the start over Ethan Finlay as he was paired on the wings with Emiliano Rigoni. Gyasi Zardes got the start at striker for the first time since the MLS break.
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Who Is Stepping Up?
I thought Gyasi Zardes was in position a few times to make good contact on the ball for a chance. He wasn’t able to put in the header that we have come to expect from him. But I think he needs to start at striker when available.
Memo Rodriguez looked like he played his tail off throughout the match. He looks like someone who is really trying to secure a spot in the starting XI. I think he might be more consistent there than Emiliano Rigoni who I also thought had one of his better matches of the year and should have a goal to his name.
Sebastian Driussi had a very solid night statistically. For one, he scored the lone goal on the night and was also very accurate with his passing on the night, going 33/35 for a 94% completion rate.
Matt Hedges was by far the most consistent defender on the night. A stat that stood out to me was Hedges’ eight recoveries on the night. He has been a bright spot for Austin on the pitch since he has been here.
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Who Is Dropping Off?
As Hedges has been consistently good, Julio Cascante’s performance has become predictably poor.
Cascante was poor again as he struggled to recover the ball, finishing with only one recovery, and failed to get the ball out of the box on the second Seattle goal.
I think going forward, we need to try a Vaisanen/Hedges duo and see how it fares. We are guaranteed to give up at least one goal with Cascante right now.
Jon Gallagher had a rare rough night where he did nothing to stand out. He was largely invisible, both on defense and in attack.
We typically expect Gally to help move the ball forward out of the back, but in this match he struggled with his passes, finishing with 1/4 on crosses and 0/4 on long balls.
He hasn’t had many poor performances this year, and I don’t expect this to continue. Expect him to have a much better performance on Saturday.
I honestly don’t understand why Owen Wolff is still starting (outside the obvious). The fact that he is almost guaranteed to be in the starting XI while Alex Ring has to fight for minutes is a clear mistake.
I understand Dani was out, so for this match it probably should have been a Driussi-Wolff-Ring midfield. But going forward, I want to see a Driussi-Ring-Pereira midfield, as I truly believe that will be one of the best midfields in the MLS.
I am going to add PRO referees to this list. We know they are bad, but last night’s match was totally disgraceful. It is really hard to convince people to give the MLS a chance when this is the officiating at the major league level. It needs to change, but probably won’t.
Austin FC travels to take on the New England Revolution at 6:30 pm on Saturday.
When will the dry spell end? Can Austin get points on the road?
Let us know what you think in the comments below.
Images courtesy Apple TV