Austin FC’s two-match winning streak came to an end on Sunday as they fell 2-1 to Sporting Kansas City at Children’s Mercy Park. Jon Gallagher scored Austin’s goal in his first start with the club with Jared Stroud providing his second assist in as many matches for Gallagher’s goal.
In a back-and-forth first half, it was Austin that struck first in the seventh minute. Jhohan Romaña played a line-splitting pass through the Sporting defense that found Jared Stroud. The right winger played an early cross that hit Jon Gallagher perfectly in stride and the forward -- who started up top for the first time -- beat the onrushing goalkeeper to score his first for Austin FC.
From there, Sporting KC put the pressure on ATXFC and were able to find a few chances. Brad Stuver made a diving save on Gianluca Busio in the 17th minute and followed it up with a kick save on Daniel Salloi in the 32nd minute. Tomás Pochettino had Austin’s best chance for the rest of the half, stinging the crossbar from outside the box in the 34th minute.
Sporting continued to put the pressure on the Austin defense for much of the second half, but the Verde & Black were able to keep them at bay. That changed after Alex Ring picked up his second yellow card in the 67th minute.
Seven minutes later Stuver got a fingertip on a Daniel Salloi shot and was able to get it up onto the crossbar and out of play. Four minutes later Sporting had a golden opportunity from inside the six-yard box but Andreu Fontas’ header went over the bar.
Sporting found the equalizer in the 84th minute when Johnny Russell served in a cross off a corner that Ilie Sanchez was able to redirect into the back of the net. Six minutes later, with Sporting continuing to put the pressure on 10-man Austin, Gadi Kinda broke the tie off a cross from Luis Martins and a touch from Khiry Shelton.
- MAKING HIS MARK: After Danny Hoesen started the first three games up top for head coach Josh Wolff, Jon Gallagher was inserted into the starting XI for the first time this season on Sunday. He made the most of his opportunity, providing an early goal to give Austin an advantage for most of the match.
- STUVER THE STOPPER: Brad Stuver hadn’t been asked to do too much in Austin’s first three matches, but he was pressed into duty in Kansas City. The 30-year-old made several big saves to keep Sporting off the scoresheet for most of the match, and eventually ended up with six saves in the match.
- RING-LESS: Alex Ring getting sent off turned out to be the moment that changed the match as the home side were able to push numbers forward relentlessly. Austin’s captain has been one of the team’s best players all season and unfortunately he will be unavailable next week against the LA Galaxy.
- Wolff on how the red card changed the game: "I think the red card changes everything... The red changed the whole dynamic of the game. I think there was a big result there for us and I think our guys know that and I think the people that watched the game would know that as well."
- Wolff on starting Gallagher: "I think we had some ideas on what we thought we could exploit vs. Kansas City and I think it was really clear that it was working exactly how we planned on it... Jon deserved the opportunity. He's been playing well, he could have three or four goals already so [I'm] really excited for him to get on the board."
- Nick Lima on bouncing back after a loss: "I think we take the things that we did good from this game and the things we did well in the first three [matches] and we [look at] all that optimistically. We're a good team. I think Kansas City got fortunate got to [play against] 10 men. I feel like we could have won."