Austin FC welcomed Texas rivals FC Dallas to Q2 Stadium for the first time on Sunday night in what was one of the more thrilling matches of the 2021 MLS season. Dallas came away with the three points, beating Austin 5-3 in front of another raucous crowd.
Dallas opened the scoring early in the fifth minute after some nervy moments to start from both sides. Ricardo Pepi forced Brad Stuver into a mistake and Jesus Ferreira was able to pounce on it and give FCD an early lead.
Austin quickly found its answer in the 13th minute. After a set piece, Cascante stayed in the final third and the recycled ball eventually landed on the left foot of Žan Kolmanič. The Slovenian fired in a cross that got to the head of Cascante and the center back redirected the header back to the far post. It was his first goal in Verde & Black.
The teams traded plenty of chances over the next 20 minutes before Dallas took the lead again. After building up through the Austin midfield, Szabolcs Schon hit Ricardo Pepi with a pass just inside the top of the box and the 18-year-old slotted his shot into the bottom left corner. Two minutes later Ferreira added his second of the match off a rebound to put Dallas up 3-1.
Dallas went up 4-1 before the break when Pepi found himself in open space after being played through to Stuver. The US international finished his second of the match and 11th on the season.
The score jumped to 5-1 in the 53rd minute when Jader Obrian ended up through on goal after a goal kick. The winger didn’t make a mistake and scored another one for the visitors.
Austin got one back in the 59th minute off a high press. Sebastián Driussi won the ball off a tackle and slipped a ball to Diego Fagundez, who timed his run perfectly. Fagundez clinically scored and tied Cecilio Domínguez for the team lead with five goals.
ATXFC poured on the pressure after the goal, and found its third goal in the 68th minute. Driussi hooked up with Hector Jimenez and the substitute’s cross hit Alex Ring perfectly. The captain headed the ball down and past Pheilpe Megiolaro to bring the scoreline to 5-3.
Josh Wolff’s team continued to push over the final 20-plus minutes, but couldn’t find two more goals to earn a result at home.
- NO QUIT: Falling behind 5-1 was less than ideal, but neither the players on the field or the fans in the stands gave up. The players battled back to make it 5-3 while the fans and supporters were as ever before to help spur them on.
- THE PLAYMAKER: Driussi lined up in the No. 10 position behind Domínguez and again showed why this is the position for him. The Argentine collected his second and third assist of the season, the notable catalyst in Austin’s comeback.
- DJITTE DEBUT: It’s been quite a wait for Moussa Djitté to take the field for the Verde & Black after being signed almost two months ago. He finally did in the 82nd minute and showed glimpses of why he was brought into the fold.
- Wolff on the late comeback: "It's going to be tough to find positives in that but obviously it's good to then put that together and compete."
- Cascante on giving up three goals in a short timespan: "It's hard to figure out what happened because it was quick. But I think we weren't connected as we usually are. I think moments like this we need to stay together. When they score one goal, we need to [keep our heads] and keep working."
- Wolff on scoring three goals: "We had three and I think we could have had more and that's the whole point. Even after giving up the first goal, we played our way back in it in the first half, we had plenty of good opportunities. [It was] exactly what we expected."