Saturday night’s contest between Austin FC and the San Jose Earthquakes was quite different from the sides’ scoreless draw in their first meeting of the season on June 19, as the Earthquakes outlasted Austin 4-3 in a thrilling game at Q2 Stadium.
ATXFC got off to a dream start in the sixth minute as a pair of summer signings created the game’s opening goal. Moussa Djitté, who made his first MLS start on the night, directed a powerful header on frame, forcing a save from San Jose goalkeeper JT Marcinkowski. Sebastián Driussi reacted quickest, firing home the rebound to put the Verde & Black on top.
The early edge wouldn’t last long though. The Earthquakes grabbed an equalizer in the 17th minute, when Marcos López met Benjamin Kikanovic’s corner kick with a header that found its way into the net.
Austin’s attack restored the lead with two more goals before halftime. In the 35th minute, a lovely bit of combination play between Daniel Pereira and Alex Ring saw the latter break in behind the San Jose backline. The captain slid a low pass across the six-yard area, and Jon Gallagher popped up at the far post to finish the move.
Ring then scored one of his own in spectacular fashion, hitting a pinpoint strike from outside the box that arrowed into the bottom corner to give ATXFC a two-goal cushion in the 45th minute.
That cushion proved fleeting on the other side of the break, as the Earthquakes netted twice in quick succession to tie things up once again. Cristian Espinoza scored in the 49th minute to halve the deficit, and Chofis López completed the comeback from the spot nine minutes later after VAR awarded the visitors a controversial penalty kick.
Things then went from bad to worse for the Verde & Black, as Chofis scored his second of the night in the 63rd minute and Ring was sent off moments later. 10-man Austin pushed in search of the game-tying goal, and nearly found one on a couple of occasions. But ultimately, the late equalizer never arrived, and San Jose took home all three points on the night.
- AUSTIN'S OWN: Fans at Q2 Stadium witnessed an important moment in club history late in the game. McKinze Gaines came on as a substitute to make his debut for Austin FC, becoming the first native Austinite to appear for the club.
- GOALS GALORE: Saturday night’s seven combined goals are the second-most in an Austin FC game this season, trailing only the eight scored between Austin and FC Dallas on August 29.
- REST FOR THE WEARY: After a tough run of fixtures which saw ATXFC play three games in eight days, the team will now get a well-deserved break before closing out its homestand next Sunday night against the LA Galaxy.
- Head Coach Josh Wolff on the performance of Moussa Djitté: “I think you see what he does. He has a presence to bring people in, he’s quite calm and good with the ball. Around the box, he’s got power, he’s got separation.”
- Djitté on making his first MLS start: “It was a pleasure to have the opportunity to be able to start today. Knowing that I was chosen as one of the 11 to start the game, it’s always an honor and it was a pleasure to be able to get out there.”
- Djitté on the team conceding a two-goal lead: “It’s the game of soccer. There are highs and there are lows, but we have to keep our heads on our shoulders and fight and give it our all.”