Aztex: We're Still Top of the Table
Austin draws with Tampa Bay, stays in first
By Nick Barbaro,
2:48PM, Thu. May 20, 2010
OK, it wasn't the win I predicted in today's print edition, and it was disappointing to give up the lead three times. But other parts of my prediction for last night's game worked out. It was a great crowd, and a well-played hard-fought game, with the league's scoring leaders lived up to their rep.
On the defensive end, well, that's another story.
Eddie Johnson retook the scoring lead with his third and fourth goals of the season (two defenders teamed up for the opener, with Yohance Marshall nailing a header off a beautiful free kick from Leonard Griffin), and in general everyone looked good on the attacking end with Jamie Watson and Maxwell Griffin both creating a lot of chances. But Tampa controlled the midfield for long stretches of the game, Austin's central defense consistently looks vulnerable to through balls right up the middle, and the marking on set plays is, well, let's say spotty.
So while the Aztex looked the better team, outshooting Tampa Bay 21-13 and taking the lead three times, that made it all the more painful to give up the tying goal three times – including once (dagger in the heart) deep into first half extra time, and once (another dagger) in the 86th minute.
So in the end, a 3-3 draw felt like points lost – especially with the other two league leaders also playing at home last night. But, who would have guessed, both Portland and Rochester dropped 1-0 decisions and the Aztex wound up gaining ground after all. Sweet.