Austin FC Beats Banged-Up FC Dallas for First Win of Season

Club faces struggling San Jose Earthquakes next

Austin FC forward Jáder Obrian squares up against FC Dallas defender Sebastien Ibeagha during an ATX 2-1 win (credit: Austin FC)

Austin FC earned its first win of the 2024 regular season Saturday night at Q2 Stadium, brushing aside a depleted FC Dallas team, 2-1, to snap a 7-game winless streak dating back to last season.

The Verde and Black dominated possession and had Dallas scrambling defensively for much of the game, though ATX still required a comeback effort just to eke out the one-goal victory over their injury-riddled Texas rivals.

Star Dallas players Jesús Ferreira, Alan Velasco, and Asier Illarramendi, along with regular starter Paxton Pomykal, all missed the Copa Tejas opener, giving Austin FC one of the biggest talent advantages it's likely to see in any MLS match this season.

The result was one-way traffic in Austin’s favor for the entirety of the first half, though the Verde and Black were unable to cash in 65% possession and several high-danger scoring chances into an opening goal.

Five minutes into the second half, though, a miscommunication between Austin FC center backs Julio Cascante and Brandon Hines-Ike on what should have been a relatively harmless long ball into the ATX half allowed Dallas forward Eugene Ansah a free run in on Brad Stuver’s goal. Ansah tucked a well-placed shot just out of Stuver’s reach into the back of the net to give Dallas a stunning 1-0 lead.

Before the shell shock had even had a chance to wear off, though, Cascante quickly made amends on the other end of the pitch with a strong headed goal off a Jon Gallagher cross to equalize in the 54th minute.

Austin kept the pressure on, and in the 70th minute, Sebastián Driussi made his first impactful play of the season, playing an inch-perfect pass toward Diego Rubio in the six-yard box. The Chilean striker applied the simple headed finish to give ATX the lead.

Driussi, in his third appearance of the season, managed to play the entirety of the match for the first time since coming back from a preseason hamstring injury.

Rather than chase an insurance goal in the closing 10 minutes of the match, embattled ATX head coach Josh Wolff opted instead to prioritize defense, removing an attacking player in favor of a third center back in Matt Hedges and allowing Dallas a larger share of the ball than at any other point in the game. It’s a strategy that backfired on Wolff earlier in the season when Austin FC gave up a lead against the Philadelphia Union, but this time it did the job, albeit not without some perhaps unnecessary anxiety.

“Today was a much more complete game from start to finish,” Wolff said. “The intent and the way that we started the game with what we wanted to do to Dallas was extremely good. Our execution was quite good.”

For the Austin FC players, the validation of three points was a long time coming.

“We’ve been so close. We’ve been right there almost getting that feeling. Today felt like a culmination of all the hard work,” Gallagher said. “I thought we absolutely dominated them.”

The mission for Austin FC will be to build on its first win, and it gets a golden opportunity to do so next Saturday against the struggling San Jose Earthquakes, once again at Q2 Stadium.


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

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS POST

Austin FC, Copa Tejas, Jon Gallagher, Julio Cascante

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