Dani Pereira (left) and Jáder Obrian combined for Austin FC’s first two goals in a 3-2 win over Sporting Kansas City (credit: Austin FC)

They say home is where the heart is. For Austin FC, home is where the wins are.

The Verde and Black held off Sporting Kansas City, 3-2, at Q2 Stadium on Saturday night, winning at home for a club-record fifth straight time and second time in 72 hours. A pair of goals from Jáder Obrian – who marked his 29th birthday with his first MLS career goal – along with Sebastián Driussi’s third in LOT games lifted Austin FC to three points and the third seed in the Western Conference.

“(It was a) complete performance. Full effort from the boys,” coach Josh Wolff said. “I know they are exhausted. It’s been a busy week and you know they’re fired up, but they’re obviously in a very good space.”

With Austin preparing for its third game in eight days, Wolff shuffled his starting lineup to alleviate the group’s collective fatigue. Notably, he rested 33-year-old midfielder Alex Ring in favor of defensive specialist Jhojan Valencia. Valencia entered the position no. 6 usually occupied by Dani Pereira, allowing Pereira to advance much further into Austin FC’s attack than usual. The results were impressive.

Pereira appeared to have scored his first goal of the season when he headed a loose ball into the Sporting KC net in the fifth minute. However, VAR disallowed the goal when Obrian was determined to have been offside in the build-up.

Instead of taking an early 1-0 lead, Austin FC trailed 0-1 when Sporting KC captain Johnny Russell fingered ATX goalkeeper Brad Stuver in the 18th minute.

SKC, who entered the night without a win in their last six MLS games and were second-to-last in the Western Conference, gave Austin the lead nine minutes later when Pereira intercepted a terrific pass from SKC goalkeeper Tim Melia within the SKC penalty. area. Where a less focused player might have taken an ill-advised shot, had he blocked it and missed the chance, Pereira calmly dropped a pass to O’Brien, who buried his open shot for the equaliser.

And 11 minutes after that, the pair linked up again for the go-ahead goal when Pereira once again picked out O’Brien with a clever assist.

“(Dani) is a good friend of mine and we’ve been talking for a while like, ‘Dani, give me the ball! Give me that assist!’ And tonight we were able to do that,” Obrian said.

Asked how he celebrates scoring two goals and a win on one’s birthday of all days, the Colombian was relaxed, saying he planned to just spend a quiet night with his family. Pereira, however, wasn’t buying it. “He’s lying! Ask him where he’s taking me out tonight!” Pereira teased.

But before the festivities could begin, Austin FC still had to see out the second half of the match. The club got immediate assurance just 40 seconds into the second half when first-half substitute Gyasi Zardes whipped in a perfect cross for Driussi, who fired the ball into the top corner for his fifth goal of the season and lead 3-1.

Things got a little dicey when SKC pulled a goal back in the 62nd minute thanks to a Jake Davis rocket of a shot from outside the box.

Druissi won but missed an 80th minute penalty that would have effectively wrapped up the game, but instead, Austin FC closed things out the hard way with some brilliant tactics to cut time to save the three points.

Austin FC now takes its usual week off before its next game on the road against the San Jose Earthquakes, a club that has become something of a rival for the Green and Black. However, that game marks the start of another difficult stretch of three games in eight days. Despite the club’s sudden success of late, Wolff isn’t putting an end to any football just yet.

“We have a lot of work to do. We are not a finished product,” Wolff said. “We have to keep grinding. We have to keep moving forward.”

For more Austin FC news and analysis, visit The Austin ChronicleS ‘ Austin FC Center. Follow The Verde Report columnist Eric Goodman at X: @goodman.

Source link


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here