In Austin FC‘s last MLS matchup, a home tilt and the first derby in franchise history against Houston Dynamo FC, the Verde and Black offense came to life and managed to hold on to a 3-2 win against a visiting squad that played with 10 men for most of the match.
On Saturday, for the second time in as many games, Austin played an in-state derby — this one, on the road against FC Dallas. But this time it ended in a very different result as the contest was a tale of two halves. When you combined both, the visitors returned to the state capital late Saturday night on the wrong side of a 2-0 scoreline.
Austin FC ended offensive drought against Houston Dynamo FC
After going three games without a goal, Austin FC ended the scoreless drought early against Houston Dynamo FC in the first derby between the two Texas teams. Tomas Pochettino opened his account in the seventh minute with a goal that deflected off the post before hitting a Houston defender and bouncing into the net.
Following a straight red card on Houston’s Darwin Ceren in the 20th minute and then a subsequent goal from the 10-man team, Pochettino answered just seconds into first-half stoppage time when he delivered the rebound of a Diego Fagundez shot into the net for a first-half brace. Austin led 2-1 heading into the half.
The Verde and Black established control early in the second half and capitalized in the 56th minute when Cecilio Dominguez headed a Fagundez cross into the net for a commanding 3-1 lead.
Austin should have gone home with that scoreline, but keeper Brad Stuver made an uncharacteristic errant pass in the 86th minute that Houston’s Fafà Picault intercepted and delivered into the empty net and cut the lead down to the final score of 3-2.
Austin FC dominant in first half on road in Dallas
Austin FC showed up in Dallas, and so did a large contingent of fans who made the three-plus hour drive up I-35. Those who made the trip and those watching at home saw a team perform in the first half like it has for much of the season, connecting passes and dominating possession.
However, another all-too-familiar theme also developed in the first half — no goals. That’s not to say Austin didn’t have its share of chances. It did. In the 7th minute, Daniel Pereira delivered a nice cross right in front of goal, but Manny Perez delivered it straight to the keeper Jimmy Maurer.
A couple of minutes later, Fagundez took a free-kick from 25 yards out and cleared the wall but the ball was saved and parried away by Maurer. Perez and Fagundez each had another chance in the half, including a Fagundez free-kick that was deflected and bounced off the crossbar.
It was a familiar scoreless draw at the break.
Dallas scores goal and game changes
Austin started the second half with noticeably less energy than it had played the entire first. And it costs them.
In the 50th minute, FC Dallas sent a cross into the box that was deflected and gathered on the far side by Szabolcs Schön, who was hardly challenged and dropped the ball back to Ryan Hollingshead, who delivered a low liner through multiple Austin defenders and past keeper Brad Stuver for a 1-0 advantage.
Austin head coach Josh Wolff said that early second-half score changed the entire complexion of the match.
“The goals change games,” Wolff said. “That’s obviously been the theme for us. It’s unfortunate. I don’t know if the guy is offsides before the one on the corner kick but clearly they got the corner kick and scored and the game changed. We didn’t have or match their little bit of uptick in energy there in the second half. Once the goal goes in, the game changes a bit.”
Despite bringing on numerous subs, including the newest signing, Sebastian Driussi, Dallas added another goal in the 63rd minute and Austin failed to score, falling 2-0. It’s the 11th time the league’s newest franchise has been held scoreless this season and they remain tied with Miami for the fewest goals, sitting at 13 in 17 games.
Austin returns to action on August 14 on the road at Real Salt Lake.