Austin FC made its historic MLS debut last week in its inaugural match on the road against LAFC, falling short 2-0. On Saturday night against Colorado, the expansion club rebounded nicely, achieving a pair of monumental milestones, scoring the first goal, and more importantly, earning the first win in franchise history, with an impressive 3-1 performance on the road.
Austin FC shows promising signs despite losing first match in club history
When the 2021 MLS schedule was announced, the entire Austin FC organization was understandably excited to have a specific date set to kick off its inaugural season. The team also recognized the season opener was going to be a challenge, facing a tough team in LAFC, which many expect to be a Western Conference contender.
The expansion side started the game looking like an expansion side in the early going. Austin eventually shook off the early-game jitters and responded in the final 30 minutes of the first half, but had nothing to show for it heading into the locker room with a scoreless tie.
In the second half, LAFC scored in the 61st minute, withstood the Austin offensive attack, and then scored again in the closing minutes to send the visitors from Texas home with a 2-0 loss.
Austin starts sluggish in first half for second week in a row
Circumstances forced Austin FC head coach Josh Wolff to come out with a different look on the road in Colorado with Matt Besler back in Austin for the birth of his third child, and Tomas Pochettino held out by request from MLS due to some incomplete paperwork.
The team started the second match of the season in a similar fashion to the week before in LA. The Rapids were on the front foot for much of the first half, with the Verde rarely putting together any sustained periods of possession.
Colorado pressed throughout much of the first half, and Austin goalkeeper Brad Stuver only increased that pressure, continually playing it short out of the back. It almost cost the team on a couple of occasions, but Austin dodged a bullet each time.
Colorado’s Andre Shinyashiki opened the scoring at the 36-minute mark with a header off a corner kick that gave the Rapids a 1-0 lead, which they maintained into the break.
Austin scores first goal and earns first win in club history
Diego Fagundez will be the answer to a trivia question years from now as the first player to score a goal in Austin FC history. In the absence of Pochettino, Fagundez got the start and was the first beneficiary of a pressuring Austin attack in the second half. The Uruguayan midfielder made history in the 59th minute when Jared Stroud’s shot from the right wing was deflected, landed at his feet, and the veteran one-timed it into the open net.
It turns out Austin was just getting started and eight minutes later, first-ever designated player, Cecilio Dominguez, hustled to a loose ball inside the 18-yard box and curled a shot past a shielded Rapids goalkeeper William Yarbrough inside the far post for Austin’s first lead in franchise history.
Just four minutes later, Dominguez showed his class when he started a break with a deft flick to Zan Kolmanic on the left side, and then moments later one-timed another loose ball at the top of the box, which was deflected between Yarbrough and the near post for his brace and a 3-1 Austin lead.
The Verde held on for the final 20 minutes plus stoppage time and sealed the franchise’s first-ever victory 3-1, and in the process wrote a historic chapter in growing the legend.