Austin FC came out of New York with one point despite being outshot 16-3. It was obvious from the beginning that the goal was a draw, especially after going down 1-0 in the early minutes when Emiliano Rigoni failed to clear the Red Bulls attack and hit the ball into the net for the own goal.
Sebastian Driussi was able to find the net right before halftime to tie it at 1-1. It stayed there until the final whistle, as ATX was just hanging on for the draw.
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Julio Cascante was out for this match due to a card accumulation suspension. Matt Hedges and Kipp Keller were also inactive with injuries. This left manager Josh Wolff to move Alex Ring back as a center back and start Jhojan Valencia in the midfield.
The lineup was to be expected with who Austin had available. There is a case for Gyasi Zardes and Ethan Finlay as starters, as both players have met or exceeded season expectations on a team filled with players that have underperformed.
Who Is Stepping Up?
The first player that comes to mind is Jhojan Valencia, who came on to start as Ring was moved to the back line. Valencia had a very active night as he got an assist on the equalizing goal and was a force on defense as he finished the match with eight recoveries and a pivotal clearance early on in a dangerous territory.
Sebastian Driussi still does Driussi magic. In a match with very few opportunities, Driussi capitalized on one of the chances as he scored a header off of the corner right before the half.
Leo Vaisanen was a standout last night in defense. He was a large reason why Austin was able to come out with a point. He won 11 duels, including nine of them being aerial. Not only that, but he also added six clearances and six recoveries. He did a good job keeping the NY chances contested.
While it was a more dull and defensive match, there were a few good performances to build on. Now let’s discuss what wasn’t great about the performances.
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Who Is Dropping Off?
Emiliano Rigoni owns this segment. This might be the match for anyone out there who still believes he should stay with this team long-term to change their mind. In the early minutes, he cleared the ball into the net, lacking the defensive awareness to know where he was and where the ball was coming in.
Maxi Urruti got the nod at striker, and even though I think it should have been Gyasi Zardes up top, Urruti did nothing in this match to show why he deserves starts in the matches going forward. He was invisible, and that was largely due to the lack of attacking chances produced by the team.
Jon Gallagher has started delivering some bad performances in recent weeks. He was one of the few players who was more consistently good than bad. But in this match, he only completed 50% of his passes as he went 10 for 20 and only won 33% of his duels as he went three for nine. He was not good in attack or defense this match.
Owen Wolff didn’t do much in this one. I think no matter what happens in the off-season with Coach Wolff, we need to make sure the two Wolff’s aren’t still here next year. It is not fair to Owen, he deserves a fresh start without his dad as his manager.
Austin returns home on Sunday as they welcome Diego Fagundez and the LA Galaxy to Q2 Stadium for an 8:30 pm kickoff.
When will this winless drought end? Any hope left for playoffs?
Let us know what you think in the comments below.
Cover image courtesy of Apple TV.