Austin FC headed up to Vancouver looking to ignite a late-season run in the Club’s first trip north of the border. Josh Wolff’s team looked like it was on its way to its first road win since May, but Vancouver managed to score two goals in the second half to win 2-1 at BC Place on Saturday.
Austin finished off a dominant first half in style.
Tomás Pochettino beat his defender 1v1 and was able to whip in a cross that got to the feet of Cecilio Domínguez. The Paraguayan quickly turned and lofted a ball to Sebastián Driussi at the top of the six-yard box. Driussi headed the ball down and back from where it came from to score his second goal in the Verde & Black.
Austin outshot Vancouver 7-2 in the first half and did not allow a shot on target.
The Whitecaps pushed for the equalizer to start the second half and they had two big chances in succession in the 63rd minute, but Brad Stuver came up with a massive double-save. Julio Cascante misplayed a pass back to Stuver, leaving Vancouver striker Brian White 1v1 with Stuver. The goalkeeper saved White’s attempt and then was able to get up and knock away Ryan Gauld’s attempt off the rebound.
Vancouver eventually were successful in leveling the match in the 70th minute with Matt Besler off the field temporarily due to an injury. The home team took advantage of the situation through Cristian Dajome, who served in a cross that was headed home by Erik Godoy. Freddy Kleemann came on for Besler, making his professional debut.
Driussi nearly added to his tally just two minutes later, but Thomas Hasal managed to get his foot on in time to deny the Argentine. Julio Cascante made one of the plays of the year in the 78th minute to keep the score 1-1, getting back to clear a Deiber Caicedo shot off the line after he had chipped an onrushing Stuver.
The Whitecaps did eventually get its game-winner as Caicedo tapped in a rebound off of a saved Gauld shot in the 83rd minute.
- FIRST-HALF DOMINANCE: This isn’t the first time that Austin has come out strong in the first half, but the performance at BC Place may have been the team’s best 45 minutes all year. ATXFC was dangerous on the attack, peppering the Whitecaps’ goal, and conceded almost nothing defensively.
- DEBUTANT: Kleemann’s insertion after Besler’s injury was the rookie center back’s first in MLS. The University of Washington product was the No. 11 overall pick in the 2021 SuperDraft. He has made appearances for the Birmingham Legion in the USL Championship while on loan earlier this season.
- STAYING HOT: While the result did not go Austin’s way, Driussi again showed why he has the potential to be one of the top players in MLS. The midfielder now has two goals and three assists in his last four matches.
- Wolff on the match: "It's disappointing. Obviously I'm gutted for the guys, they busted their a, they played really well and from the offensive side executed extremely well in the first half. We're unlucky to not score multiple goals in the first half and then even in the second half, it was there for us to take. Really disappointed for the guys."
- Kleemann on his mindset when entering the match for his MLS debut:** "It's awesome to make my debut but honestly the one thing going through my head is that the guys worked really hard for me and put everything out there on the field so my goal was to do the same thing."