Austin FC Lifts Copa Tejas With Draw Against FC Dallas

Club extends record no-loss streak to seven

Austin FC players raise the Copa Tejas rivalry trophy outside Toyota Stadium (Courtesy of Austin FC)

For the first time in their stellar 2022 season, Austin FC players had something other than 3 points on their minds as they bussed up I-35 and the Dallas North Tollway to Frisco. A draw was all that was required for the Verde and Black to lift Copa Tejas at the same ground where they failed to do so last season, and a draw is exactly what they got.

A 79th-minute goal by Diego Fagúndez – the only ATX player to score at Toyota Stadium in three matches – canceled out a first-half finish by Paul Arriola to settle the score at 1-1.

The majority of the match was solidly below the level of performance Austin FC had been consistently reaching in its prior four matches, all wins. The Verde managed just a handful of high-danger chances in attack, while Brad Stuver and the ATX back line had to scramble on multiple occasions to prevent Dallas from finding a second goal. However, the final 15 minutes belonged exclusively to the Austin side, beginning with the equalizing goal.

Excellent pressure from Owen Wolff in the midfield forced a Dallas turnover, recovered by Felipe Martins for Austin FC. Martins connected with Sebastián Driussi, who dropped off a clever pass to Fagúndez for the assist on Fagúndez’s fifth goal of the season.

The Verde kept up the pressure as the final minutes ticked away, forcing a tremendous stretch from Dallas keeper Maarten Paes, who twice denied Danny Hoesen a chance at the winning goal.

Despite the draw, the Oaks allowed themselves a moment of celebration at the final whistle, knowing that the draw was all that was needed to secure the first piece of silverware in club history. By way of two draws against Dallas and two wins against the third Lone Star State football club, the Houston Dynamo, Austin FC earned the chance to lift the second edition of the Copa Tejas rivalry trophy.

“It’s a great moment. It’s a special moment. You can see what it did mean to the players. You can see what it meant to the fans,” said Austin FC assistant coach Davy Arnaud, who assumed fill-in manager duties with head coach Josh Wolff unavailable due to MLS health and safety protocols. “We started the year with some objectives, and one of those was to win Copa Tejas. They’ve achieved that objective and I’m very happy for them. We’re moving in the right direction.”

Despite Austin FC’s four-game winning streak coming to an end, the draw extended a club-record streak of matches without a loss to seven. They tacked on another point to their MLS-leading total of 41 and will renew their focus on the MLS Cup title chase when the club hosts Eastern Conference leaders New York Red Bulls Sunday, July 24, at Q2 Stadium. Austin FC has not lost to a foe from the East in seven matches so far this season (six wins, one draw).

Club captain Alex Ring wasted little time expanding the big picture beyond the state of Texas. “I’m happy for the fans that they have the bragging rights for this year. But in the end, we have bigger things that we want to accomplish with this team, with this community, and with these fans. This is a good first step, but we’re not done yet.”

For more Austin FC news and analysis, visit The Austin Chronicle’s Austin FC hub. Follow “The Verde Report” columnist Eric Goodman on Twitter: @goodman.

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