The third time was not the charm for Austin FC. After losing the first-ever game in franchise history at LAFC in April by a 2-0 score, the Verde and Black lost at home in July to its Western Conference foe by the same margin. In Wednesday night’s tilt at Q2 Stadium, the home team improved on its previous performances by scoring a goal, but the lackluster offense that has plagued the team all season continued, and the home fans left disappointed after watching the team lose 2-1 for its fourth consecutive defeat.
Austin FC starts strong but fails to capitalize
Like so many times in the past at Q2 Stadium, Austin FC started fast. In the third minute against LAFC, it appeared the Verde and Black opened the scoring account when Sebastian Driussi received a pass up the left channel from Cecilio Dominguez, turned and delivered a left-footer under LA keeper Tomas Romero into the back of the net.
The fans went crazy. Beer flew through the air in the supporters section. The stadium lights pulsed green. Then the official ruled it was under review. A few minutes later, VAR ruled the play offsides.
Austin had another scoring opportunity in the 22nd minute when Zan Kolmanic took a pass from Sebastian Driussi, found some open space, and delivered a left-footer from just outside the 18-yard box, the ball sailing just wide of the far post. A minute later, LA’s Cristian Arango responded with a shot inside the box, but Austin keeper Brad Stuver made a diving one-handed save.
Despite multiple chances for both teams, the half ended in a scoreless tie.
Offenses come to life in the second half
After VAR took away a goal from Austin FC in the first half, it seemed only fitting it would play a big part in the second half. It happened in the 55th minute when Austin’s Diego Fagundez attempted to block a cross from LA’s Kim Moon-Hwan inside the box. The ball bounced off Fagundez’s right arm. After several minutes, VAR ruled a penalty.
Arango converted on the kick in the 59th minute to give LA a 1-0 lead.
Austin responded several minutes later on a counter-attack when captain Alex Ring delivered a pass to a breaking Cecilio Dominguez, who settled the ball, made his way around a pair of LA defenders, and deftly chipped a shot past the LA keeper that caromed off the right post. Fagundez one-timed the rebound into the net to tie up the contest.
Austin had a prime opportunity several minutes later on another counter and a three-on-one break. However, Ring’s final touch sent the ball harmlessly outside of the right post.
LA had a counter of its own in the 81st minute when Jose Cifuentes delivered a perfectly weighted pass between a pair of Austin defenders to Danny Musovski, who slid it past Stuver to give LA the game-winning score.
Changes coming to Austin FC roster
Austin FC is dead last in the league in goals scored, managing just 22 goals in 24 games. In June, the club signed Senegalese striker Moussa Djitté. Despite the struggling offense, Djitté has appeared in just four games for a total of 48 minutes. He came on as a sub against LAFC in the 87th minute. After the loss, head coach Josh Wolff was asked the reasoning for the 22-year-old’s lack of playing time.
“Moussa’s going to play. He’s going to get minutes now and obviously it will be nice,” Wolff said. “He comes in. It’s good to see his physicality. Where his fitness level is, we’ll just have to see. We’ll have to give him a start and see what it looks like and continue to push him.”
Djitté will get his first start of the season on Saturday when Austin hosts the San Jose Earthquakes at Q2 Stadium.