Austin FC returned to MLS regular season play for the first time in 15 days on Thursday night, playing host to the league-leading Seattle Sounders. The Sounders escaped Q2 Stadium with a 1-0 victory thanks to a remarkable goal from Peru international Raul Ruidiaz.
Austin maintained possession for much of the match and even put one shot into the Sounders’ net, only to have it disallowed after video review.
Austin FC got its first quality chance in the 19th minute off a set piece as Kekuta Manneh steered a header just wide. The 32nd minute saw chances for both teams as ATX goalkeeper Brad Stuver made a save on Reed Baker-Whiting. A few seconds later on the break, Manneh pinged an inch-perfect cross to Cecilio Domínguez but the Paraguayan’s shot went wide.
Alex Ring nearly opened the scoring in the 52nd minute when a Diego Fagundez ball into the box found the captain unmarked in front of goal, but his header landed in the arms of Seattle goalkeeper Spencer Richey.
Ruidiaz broke the match open in the 67th minute with a spectacular goal just minutes after coming on as a substitute. Kelyn Rowe’s through ball deflected off Matt Besler and hit Ruidiaz in the chest. The Sounders leading scorer suddenly hit an audacious volley from over 40 yards out that curled over Stuver.
Ten minutes later, Austin FC fans celebrated what they thought was an equalizer, but Julio Cascante’s diving header was disallowed following Video Review, which determined he had been offside. Austin pushed to get a result but could not break down a Sounders side sitting back deep in its half.
- DEFENSIVE BLOCK: The Sounders started the second-youngest starting lineup in MLS history on Thursday night, which naturally led to them playing in a low defensive block throughout the match. The Verde & Black were able to control 74% of the possession but couldn’t break down the Sounders backline for much of the night.
- RUIDIAZ-ED: Raul Ruidiaz has been one of the top strikers in MLS since his arrival in the league back in 2018. Unfortunately for Austin he proved yet again just how special he is with a goal that will likely challenge for Goal of the Year.
- TWO MORE: ATXFC has two more matches left in its six-match homestand, with the Colorado Rapids and Houston Dynamo FC visiting Q2 Stadium over the next couple of weeks. Josh Wolff’s team will look to capitalize on the opportunity to earn more points at home, potentially with new striker Moussa Djitté in the fold.