MATCH RECAP: Austin FC vs. Colorado Rapids

It was a historic night in Colorado as Austin FC won the first match in Club history, beating the Rapids 3-1 at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park on Saturday night. Diego Fagundez scored the first goal in Club history, while Cecilio Domínguez added two goals of his own in four minutes, the pair combining to score three goals in just 11 minutes to give ATXFC the win.

The first notable moment of the match came before it even started.

Before the match, Austin FC was made aware of a potential League-related administrative issue regarding Tomás Pochettino’s registration. While the League believes there are no issues, they requested Austin FC remove Pochettino from the starting lineup out of an abundance of caution. The Club is hoping to receive resolution shortly.

Pochettino wasn’t the only Austin player who was unavailable for the match. Center back Matt Besler did not make the trip to Colorado, as his wife gave birth to the couple’s third child on Friday. He wouldn’t be the only defender to miss most of the match.

Starting left back Ben Sweat appeared to injure his left leg in the 20th minute and was stretchered off before coming out of the match in the 23rd minute. Žan Kolmanič replaced him.

After a fairly even and open half, the Rapids found the opener in the 36th minute off a corner kick. Jack Price served in a cross and Andre Shinyashiki rose above the Austin defenders to head it down and into the back of the net.

It was clear from the start of the second half that Austin weren’t going to let that be the only goal of the match. Domínguez got off the first shot of the half just seconds in and followed it by banging a free kick off the crossbar in the 49th minute.

Austin finally broke through in the 60th minute. After some buildup play, Jared Stroud had the ball and was streaking down the right wing. He played a cross that went right across the goalmouth and deflected off a Rapids defender. Fagundez found himself alone on the back post and finished into the open net.

ATXFC would take the lead just seven minutes later when Fagundez won the ball in the attacking third after pressing Cole Bassett. After Jon Gallagher was tackled off the ball in the Rapids’ box, it fell to Domínguez. The Paraguayan left no doubt, banging it into the far post to put Austin up 2-1.

Domínguez added to his tally just four minutes later. Kolmanič received the ball from Domínguez in open space down the left wing and crossed it to Rodney Redes at the top of the box. Redes touched the ball to Domínguez, whose deflected shot made it past William Yarbrough as Austin went up 3-1.

Three Things

  • SECOND-HALF SURGE: Whatever head coach Josh Wolff said in the locker room at halftime, it’s a good bet he’ll be using the speech again at some point. Austin played well in the first half but failed to create quality chances. That changed right from the start in the second half and they used that surge to take a 3-1 lead.
  • STYLISH: Despite playing at altitude in Colorado, ATXFC did not go away from the style the team has already established. They pressed the Rapids all over the field and when on the ball, they insisted on playing out of the back. This made the home side uncomfortable throughout the home match, eventually leading to Austin’s first win.
  • DEPTH, DEPTH, DEPTH: Julio Cascante filled in comfortably for Besler at center back and Wolff pushed the right buttons to grab the lead. Gallagher assisted on the eventual game-winner seconds after coming on and Redes had an assist of his own just four minutes after entering the match.

Quotables

  • Wolff on second-half adjustments: "It was mostly about moving, playing with each other, making space [and] creating angles. Constantly thinking about how we can progress attacks and get behind the line and get in front of goal. I think right away the mentality, the attitude, the demeanor at the start of the second half was much, much better."
  • Wolff on getting first win: "I'm excited for the team. Obviously it's a momentous occasion for the city, for this organization. I said it in our pregame meeting: 'We're going to fight together. We're going to suffer together and we're going to win together.'"
  • Domínguez (through a translator) on Austin fans in Colorado: "To feel our people, to see our people here, it was amazing. I think they behaved very well and a lot of credit to them because they made the trip all the way to Colorado. It's that kind of energy that drives us so we're very, very grateful that they came all the way here."
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