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No matter the sport, shifting roles on a team is not an easy thing to do. Yet Austin FC’s Jon Gallagher has embraced a switch to left back this season without skipping a beat, exemplified by his performance in the Verde & Black’s 3-2 win over Colorado last Monday.

With Austin trailing 2-0 after 22 minutes, the Irishman helped pull the team level before halftime, becoming the first defender in Club history to record a multi-assist performance by setting up Ethan Finlay and Sebastián Driussi with excellent long through balls.

He also tallied the match-winning assist in Austin’s 10-man road win over CF Montréal in June, picking out Maxi Urruti with a pinpoint delivery from the left wing. That trio of assists in recent weeks is thanks in large part to Gallagher’s efforts on the training ground.

“I think you can see the progression,” Gallagher said when asked about his new role at left back. “Josh [Wolff], Nolan [Sheldon], Davy [Arnaud], Rodrigo [Rios] – all those guys work with me after training and help me with crosses, whether it’s from the endline or cutbacks. That extra work is kind of giving me confidence too.”

Even with his string of strong performances as a defender, Gallagher still harbors a bit of a forward’s mentality though.

“Nothing will beat scoring a goal, but I do have a lot of pride in getting assists now and helping my team,” he said.

Next up on the fixture list for Austin is a trip to face Atlanta United FC, a club where Gallagher spent three years of his early career. He was with the Five Stripes when they won MLS Cup in 2018, and learned a lot from the team’s talented players. He also brings knowledge of the team’s home venue, and the challenges it presents for visiting opposition.

“Mercedes-Benz is a tough place to go,” said Gallagher. “I obviously experienced it myself as the home side. When that atmosphere gets going it’s a tough place to play, but it’s the same when teams come to Q2, so it’s nothing we haven’t handled before.”

The Verde & Black have certainly shown a fantastic mentality on the road, repeatedly getting results in adverse circumstances like opposing crowds, turf surfaces, red cards, and early deficits. They’ll look for more of the same – as well as a fourth-consecutive away victory – on Saturday.

“The squad’s got good belief, a good togetherness,” said Gallagher. “Regardless of the deficit, we always seem to have the confidence that we can get back in the game.”