The Austin Chronicle

Road Woes Continue for Austin FC in Loss to St. Louis City

By Eric Goodman, April 14, 2024, 10:43pm, The Score

After consecutive victories at Q2 Stadium, a return to the road meant a return to the doldrums for Austin FC as the Verde and Black lost 1-0 to St. Louis City in a Sunday matinee.

Austin looked tentative and toothless in attack throughout the 90 minutes, attempting just two shots (neither on target) and spending the majority of its 60% possession knocking the ball around in its own half. All of the initiative and desire Austin showed in its two prior wins was replaced with the same passivity Austin displayed in its prior two road games this season, neither of them wins.

In fact, El Tree has yet to score a single goal away from home all season, and is averaging less than a single shot on target per match.

“Obviously the shots are concerning. We need to generate more,” head coach Josh Wolff said postgame. “We had plenty of opportunities where we arrive in good spots. Decision making and execution still harm us, or do us damage, on the road.”

The nationally televised matchup most likely did not convert any channel surfers into MLS fans as even St. Louis failed to offer much going forward over the course of the match. Some of that can certainly be attributed to some stout Austin FC defense, although the Verde and Black’s Achilles’ heel once again proved to be the difference in the game.

Defending in transition has long been a weakness of the speed-stunted Verde group, and St. Louis punished them for it in the 57th minute as striker João Klauss capped off a breakaway with the lone goal of the afternoon. Defending in transition was a point of emphasis for Austin FC during the week in training, yet that elevated focus wasn’t able to translate to the pitch.

“When you emphasize that [in training] and that’s the way you concede, definitely it’s frustrating,” midfielder Alex Ring said.

Austin FC will have to figure out some answers for their road woes if they hope to take something positive out of their next match against the Houston Dynamo at Shell Energy Stadium, as the Copa Tejas rivals meet for the first time in 2024 on Saturday night.

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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