Austin FC beats Dynamo in first Texas derby match

By Zach Smith, Special to the Katy Times
Posted 8/5/21

As has been the case all season, Austin FC dominated the possession, holding the ball nearly 70% of the match. Austin outshot Houston 14-9 and had a 5-3 advantage in shots on goal.

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Austin FC beats Dynamo in first Texas derby match

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Head coach Josh Wolff promised physicality and fireworks in the first rivalry game for Austin FC, and Wednesday night certainly delivered.

Austin snapped a three-game losing streak and scored for the first time in more than a month in its 3-1 win over the Houston Dynamo Wednesday night at Q2 Stadium.

"It would be arrogant to say that I knew we were going to win the game, but we feel good about each game we go into," Wolff said. "These guys have a great mentality. Tonight, our urgency to play and do the things we want to do were on display."

As has been the case all season, Austin FC dominated the possession, holding the ball nearly 70% of the match. Austin outshot Houston 14-9 and had a 5-3 advantage in shots on goal.  

Austin capitalized on a Houston own goal less than 10 minutes into the game. Despite a red card in the 21st minute, the Dynamo fought back to tie the game when Tyler Pasher scored in the 26th.

Tomás Pochettino scored his first goal in an Austin FC jersey just before the break.

"You want players like him to have a level of freedom," Wolff said. "But it's still got to fit into the context of how we play. He's growing into that."

Cecilio Dominguez got Austin FC off to a flying start less than 10 minutes into the second half when he headed home a cross from Diego Fagundez.

Fafà Picault took advantage of a rare mistake by Austin goalkeeper Brad Stuver very late to provide some breathless moments for the home team, but Austin was able to hold on for the much-needed three points.

"I wouldn't say I knew we had it until the final whistle blew," Wolff said. "We made it a lot more interesting than we ever needed to. It forced us to grind and stress a little bit." 

Newly-signed attacker Sebastián Driussi wasn’t in the Austin FC squad but can expect to put on the jersey for the first time Saturday against FC Dallas.

Dani Pereira returned after missing the last few matches with an injury. Nick Lima came on as a second-half sub for the second straight game as he continues to work his way back from a major knee injury.

Man of the Match:

Tomás Pochettino — For the first time in a Verde and Black jersey, the playmaker was the best player on the pitch for Austin FC. His initial shot led to the opening goal, and he scored just before the half to all but put the game on ice. He finished with five shots and two on goal. Playing next to Dominguez did wonders for his game, and with Sebastián Driussi coming into the fold this weekend, perhaps this is just the beginning.

"It was great for me to be able to score," Pochettino said. "It helps you build your trust, and I certainly feel more trust after scoring."

Scoring:

Own Goal, 7th minute: Midfielder Sebastian Berhalter centered a ball to Julio Cascante, who knocked the ball towards goal. Pochettino’s original shot bounced off the post, and a Houston defender was in the wrong place at the wrong time to deflect it in.

Tyler Pasher, 27th minute: Austin FC defender Julio Cascante’s poor clearance was gobbled up by the Houston attack. Pasher — fresh off his time with Canada at the Gold Cup — finished after the initial Houston shot was saved by Stuver.

Tomás Pochettino, 45th minute: An initial shot from Diego Fagundez was saved, but Pochettino was right in front of goal to poke in his first goal in an Austin FC jersey.

Cecilio Dominguez, 56th minute: Hector Jimenez fed Diego Fagundez down the right side. Fagundez centered the ball, and Dominguez came flying in to head it home.

Fafà Picault, 86th minute: An uncharacteristically bad giveaway from Brad Stuver led to an odd-man rush for Houston inside the Austin FC box. Picault finished from the left side to pull one back late for the visitors.

Key Plays of the Match:

Austin FC, Alex Ring, 16th minute: Jon Gallagher passed along a ball to Ring, who volleyed it from inside the box and slammed the

Houston Dynamo, Darwin Ceren, 21st minute: Ceren swung his elbow at Sebastian Berhalter on the far side of the field. Berhalter went down like a sack of potatoes but was able to continue. Houston shifted to a 4-4-1 formation.

Austin FC, Cecilio Dominguez, 26th minute: Dominguez had one of his best looks in a few games. A foul just outside the box left a free-kick, which Dominguez whipped just over the top corner.

Austin FC, Diego Fagundez/Tomás Pochettino, 52nd minute: Fagundez wasn’t corralled by the Houston Dynamo keeper, and Tomás Pochettino was right there for the rebound, but his close-range shot rolled wide left.

Next Up:

Austin FC finishes off a six-game homestand Saturday night at 7:30 p.m. in Frisco against FC Dallas in the second-straight Texas Derby match before traveling to Utah to take on Real Salt Lake on Aug. 14 at 9 p.m.

The next game at Q2 Stadium is Aug. 18 against the Vancouver Whitecaps, the first of three straight home games for the Verde and Black.

"There's plenty of room to grow, but it's confidence," Wolff said. "Seeing the ball go in and the believability - when they do that, you can see the attitude and demeanor is much more present."

The Dynamo will be back at BBVA Compass Stadium on Saturday, as they face Minnesota United FC

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