It was a historic night in the Texas capital as Austin FC took the field at Q2 Stadium in front of a sold-out crowd. It was the first time a major professional sports team played at home in Austin. The match ended in a 0-0 draw against the San Jose Earthquakes as Austin have now earned draws in three consecutive matches.
The Verde & Black came out on the front foot and it eventually resulted in a Diego Fagundez chance in the 10th minute that forced San Jose ‘keeper JT Marcinkowski into an awkward save. That ultimately was the best chance of the half for either side, though Jon Gallagher created multiple chances down the left for the Austin attack.
Matt Besler came up big defensively in the 41st minute, making a critical intervention to prevent a golden San Jose chance.
Austin peppered the San Jose goal in the second half with several chances coming off the feet of Tomás Pochettino and Jon Gallagher. The best chance came in the 51st minute when Pochettino found Cecilio Dominguez right in front of the net, but the Paraguayan attacker was too close to Marcinkowski to be able to lift the ball over the goalkeeper.
Pochettino also played an inch-perfect cross in the 66th minute that ended up on the head of Gallagher, whose shot went just wide.
Stuver had to come up big in the 83rd minute to keep the match level as he made a diving stop on Carlos Fierro after the Quakes were able to create a chance in transition. He made another big stop in the 89th minute, this time on Cristian Espinoza. He made a sprawling stop to deny Oswaldo Alanis on the ensuing corner kick.
The match ended with both teams pushing forward, but neither were able to find a winner.
- HOME-FIELD ADVANTAGE: After having to watch their team on the road for the first eight matches of their existence, there was little doubt that Austin supporters and fans would provide an advantage for the home side. They did not disappoint as Q2 Stadium was raucous throughout the match, especially in the supporters’ section. With 16 matches to go at home, ATXFC should have a big advantage at home going forward.
- KEEPING IT CLEAN: Defense has been Austin’s calling card in the early part of the season and that continued on Saturday night as the Verde & Black put in one of their best defensive performances, especially in the first 80 minutes. Josh Wolff’s team conceded few chances for most of the night, allowing Brad Stuver to earn his third clean sheet.
- GALLAGHER SHOWING OUT: After starting his Austin career as an out-and-out striker, Jon Gallagher may have found a home on the left wing. The Irishman was Austin’s most dangerous attacker all night, creating chances left and right and routinely beating the defender in front of him. He completed five dribbles in total before coming off in the 85th minute.
- Wolff on the first home match: "I think Q2 is exceptional. I think the fans, the community, the energy, the noise inside the stadium is impressive. The [opposing] players and the staff were extremely complementary of the whole project that we have here. Certainly the way that we play but also the way that the game has been presented here, the support that we have. I think it reaches a lot of heights and I think that's something we should all be proud of. Everyone in this community should be proud of. This city has the fever for Austin FC, has the fever for the game and it's incredible to see."
- Diego Fagundez on the atmosphere: "To be honest it was amazing. I remember when I stepped out right before the game started, I got the chills. It was something special, I know [the fans] have been working so hard for it. I know the whole team was ready for it and it's kind of sad that we're leaving with a tie because we pushed so hard, they were singing so hard, and we wanted to give them more. But it's like we said, this is just the beginning. We're going to make this a fortress, we're going to make this a place where no wants to play."
- Wolff on the performance: "We had a difficult game, a difficult opponent. I give a lot of credit to San Jose, they make it difficult. It's a unique way of playing, very physical, very combative, 1v1 all over the field. We found our moments and weren't able to capture a goal. A little bit more quality, a little bit better decision-making in the final third and I think the result's there."
- Gallagher on how the fans lifted him up: "It was electric tonight. It was amazing. From every chance, every little pass, every good moment you could feel them. It was really hot out there and a lot of guys were struggling with cramps and at those times, that's when [the supporters] really pick you up. Most of the game they were banging the drum, they were singing and I'm like 'I don't know how these guys are still going, they must just as tired as myself.'"