It only took three games, but it finally happened. The Austin FC offense, which has been offensive much of the season for its woeful inability to score goals, got off the schneid in a big way on Thursday night against the Portland Timbers in a nationally televised MLS match when it scored the first home goal of the season in the first half. It was the first of many as the Verde and Black managed to score three more goals and secure its first-ever home win at Q2 Stadium by a convincing 4-1 margin.
Austin FC scores first goals in Q2 Stadium history
Austin FC started the game on the front foot, playing much of the first half in the Portland end of the pitch. At the 14-minute mark, Austin had a quality chance on one of five corner kicks when the ball bounced helplessly in the six-yard box following a nice delivery from Cecilio Dominguez, only to be ushered away by a Portland defender.
Forward Jon Gallagher will go down as the answer to a trivia question. In the 28th minute, the Irishman received a cross from Tomas Pochettino just outside the six-yard box and left-footed it past Portland keeper Steve Clark. The already raucous crowd got next-level loud as beer cascaded down in the supporters section.
The seal had been broken and Diego Fagundez delivered five minutes later when he received a perfectly weighted ball from Dominguez, dribbled toward the 18-yard box and fired at the far post, tipping off the glove of Clark and into the net for a 2-0 score.
With the crowd at a fever pitch, Portland managed to put somewhat of a damper on the festivities when it answered in stoppage time on a cross that Jeremy Ebobisse one-timed past Austin keeper Brad Stuver for a 2-1 Austin lead heading into the intermission.
Offense equally productive in second half
The energy of the crowd provided a spark to start the second half, as the home team continued to dominate possession. Austin had multiple chances and, in the 77th minute, connected on a Dominguez free kick that he crisply fired inside the 16-yard box and Alex Ring headed to the far post past a helpless Clark.
Much like the first half, Austin FC followed up just a few minutes later when Hector Jimenez took the ball in the 16-yard box, dribbled past a defender, and fired to the far post past a diving Clark for the eventual game-winning 4-1 margin.
After the game, head coach Josh Wolff was understandably pleased with his team’s performance and the first home win in Q2 Stadium history.
“Tonight, we got the goal, to break that seal and to cap it off for our first win in Q2 [Stadium],” Wolff told reporters. “It’s a momentous occasion, and we’re very fortunate to be doing what we do. Moments like this to be a first-year team, to get your first goal, your first win, you know it will be memorable. Certainly, will be very memorable for me and I hope all these players and fans remember it as memorable of an experience.”
Austin FC offense has struggled all season
Thursday night’s offensive explosion had been a long time coming. The Austin FC offense has struggled mightily in the club’s inaugural MLS season. Through 11 games, the offense had scored just six goals, and half of them came in a 3-1 win on the road against Colorado.
After opening the season with the first eight games on the road, head coach Josh Wolff hoped playing in front of a vocal home crowd in the new Q2 Stadium might inspire the attack and produce a different result. It hadn’t in the first two games.
Following a goalless draw in the first-ever home game in franchise history against the San Jose Earthquakes, Austin FC faced the defending MLS Cup Champion Columbus Crew last Sunday. Different team, same result.
After Diego Fagundez missed a prime opportunity to score in the opening seconds, the Austin offense failed to produce any real serious threats the rest of the game and settled for yet another scoreless draw.