Austin FC Hangs on for Unlikely Draw in San Jose

The Verde and Black’s unbeaten streak extends to three games

Austin FC players celebrate Brendan Hines-Ike's 45th-minute tying goal (credit: Austin FC)

Austin FC captured another of its patented, improbable road draws Saturday night in the Bay Area, eking out a 1-1 stalemate with the San Jose Earthquakes.

After surrendering an early goal to a frequent ATX nemesis, the Verde and Black capitalized on a set piece opportunity to level the score. Goalkeeper Brad Stuver was stout again with six saves, and in the rare moments when Stuver could not prevent a San Jose score, the frame of the goal stepped in to help.

As has been the case for the vast majority of Austin FC’s road trips this season, El Tree once again came up on the short end of shots (23 to 6), shots on goal (7 to 2), and expected goals (2.7 to 0.7).

“What you have to do in this league, find a way to get points,” ATX head coach Josh Wolff said. “Six points for us in seven games on the road, so we give ourselves a chance.”

San Jose struck the first blow on a slippy, slide-y field, coming from a cross by winger Cristian Espinoza in the 10th minute. Right back Hector Jimenez, making just his third start of the season for Austin FC, ducked out of the way of the pass, oblivious to the fact that San Jose forward Jeremy Ebobisse had crept up behind him.

With a sliding, left-footed finish, Ebobisse scored his sixth goal in eight career matches against Austin FC, tying him with FC Dallas’ Jesús Ferreira atop the list of Verde killers.

In the 21st minute, ATXFC nearly gifted San Jose a second goal when center back Brendan Hines-Ike made a no-look pass toward Stuver, but failed to notice that Vítor Costa de Brito had stepped between the two. However, Costa de Brito was unable to put his shot on target, letting Hines-Ike off the hook.

“Obviously, a brain fart for me in that moment,” Hines-Ike said. “But I’ve been doing this long enough to know that I’m not going to shy away from the game.”

Case-in-point: Hines-Ike got Austin FC its lone goal in the dying moments of the first half, getting his head to an Owen Wolff free kick. The headed shot took a massive deflection from a San Jose defender, then trickled past goalkeeper William Yarbrough into the goal.

Austin FC survived a frantic final stretch in the closing minutes, including a moment in which San Jose hit the post twice in three seconds that seemed straight out of a FIFA video game.

“[The players] put everything they can into this game. And that’s evident in their energy, their passion, their commitment,” Wolff said. “Obviously, it gets a little chaotic again at the end. Every game we come here seems to get that way.”

Lucky or not, Austin FC extended an unbeaten streak to three games, with a quick turnaround ahead to a Wednesday night matchup against the Portland Timbers, 7:30pm 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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Austin FC, San Jose Earthquakes, Jeremy Ebobisse, Brendan Hines-Ike

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