Austin FC recorded their second-straight win on Saturday night, beating Minnesota United FC 1-0 at Allianz Field. Diego Fagundez scored the game-winner off a pinpoint cross from Jared Stroud in the 17th minute to give the visitors all three points.
Austin got off to a quick start, finding an opener in the 17th minute through Fagundez. The goal came off some quality buildup play which eventually resulted in Danny Hoesen holding up the ball and playing Stroud through down the right wing. Stroud played a beautiful cross to Fagundez on the far post and the midfielder finished past Dayne St. Clair for his second goal in as many games.
Austin controlled over 60 percent of the possession and conceded few chances in the first half, with the Loons’ best chance coming when Emanuel Reynoso hit the post.
The Loons pushed for an equalizer in the second half but failed to create many chances that troubled the Austin defense. On the other side, ATXFC was able to make the home side uncomfortable playing on the counter.
Minnesota’s best opportunity came in the 83rd minute after 17-year-old Patrick Weah subbed on for the Loons. The forward managed to get his head on the end of a Justin McMaster cross but Brad Stuver was able to come up with his biggest stop of the game to preserve the clean sheet.
Rodney Redes nearly found a capper -- and his first Austin goal -- in the closing minutes, but his shot hit the post.
- FAGUNDEZ AGAIN: Diego Fagundez stepped into the starting XI against the Colorado Rapids and scored the Club’s first goal in MLS history. Against Minnesota, the former New England Revolution midfielder stayed in the starting XI, and scored his second goal in two games.
- SPECIAL STROUD: Ever since the first La Copita match, it’s been clear that Austin has had two players who could make an impact on the right wing. Over the last two matches Stroud has gotten the start and put in performances that will be hard to keep him off of Josh Wolff’s starting XI. He provided the assist on the lone goal of the match and put a second ball on a platter that Danny Hoesen almost converted to Austin’s second. His work-rate continues to be unmatched and the winger’s play in possession has helped Austin play their style.
- BUILDING A WALL: While Austin’s first win was highlighted by their ability to get forward and create three goals, this win comes courtesy of a defense that brought Matt Besler and Žan Kolmanič into the starting lineup along the backline. Stuver was rarely troubled thanks to some solid organization among the back four and Alex Ring and together they helped to earn the first clean sheet in Austin history.
- Wolff on Austin's first clean sheet: "It's good and that's what I said to these guys after the game. What I'm most proud of is the ability to grind. It's always tough, we know we got [seven-straight road] games but I don't really spend a ton of time talking about being on the road. These are games we have to play and they happen to be on the road and we're learning more and more about each-other every day but we still want to go play the way we play."
- Wolff on if he's surprised by Stroud's playmaking: "Not at all. When I looked at Jared, those were some of the few things that really stood out. One is his ability to run and stretch the line, obviously he comes from a pressing culture so his pressing is really good. His ability to serve balls, whip balls in early behind the line was really good when we reviewed his footage from the Red Bulls... He's a machine, he works tirelessly. That's infectious around the entire field and it certainly helps us in a lot of ways, both offensively and defensively."
- Alex Ring on how early wins help build the culture: "It builds confidence [and] shows that we're doing things right. Picking up results and doing it mostly in the style we want to do it. That's credit to the team, to the staff. We've been working really hard in the offseason but you never really know until the season starts."