Zardes Delivers Double for Austin FC in Win Over New York City

Two goals vault striker into MLS all-time top scorer list

Austin FC striker Gyasi Zardes scores his second goal of the match in a 2-1 win over NYCFC (credit: Austin FC)

A vintage performance from one of Major League Soccer’s greatest ever goalscorers lifted Austin FC to a 2-1, comeback victory over New York City FC on a rain-soaked Saturday evening at Q2 Stadium.

Striker Gyasi Zardes, starting for just the fifth time in 2024, scored a pair of sharp-looking goals – his first two of the season – to help the Verde and Black secure win number eight on the year.

Thunderstorms delayed the opening whistle for nearly 90 minutes. When it did come, the ATXFC players, though physically present on the pitch, appeared mentally very much still in the locker room. NYCFC dominated the early part of the match, scoring the opening goal in the fifth minute thanks largely to absent-minded Austin defending in the penalty box.

The hosts finally regained some control around the 15-minute mark, nearly equalizing off the foot of Jáder Obrian, if not for a solid save from NYC goalkeeper Matt Freese.

It looked, though, like Austin would head back to the locker room at halftime trailing at home. But in first-half stoppage time, Alex Ring freed up Obrian with an accurate long ball to the left flank. The winger took one touch, then curled a perfect cross toward the far post of Freese’s goal, where Zardes met it with an accurate header to level things up.

ATX keeper Brad Stuver was called upon to make a pair of important saves early on in the second half.

But in the 69th minute, Owen Wolff danced around an NYC defender, then found Zardes with a smart through-ball into the 18-yard box. Zardes, from a tight angle with a defender right on his hip, produced an inch-perfect finish to beat Freese and ricochet the ball off the far post and into the net.

“I practice that finish a lot,” Zardes said. “I assume the goalie is going to cover near post, because that’s the closest angle that’s to me. So I'm thinking he’s going to shift and when he shifts, I’m trying to go low and far post.”

The goals were numbers 104 and 105 of Zardes’ MLS career, moving him into the top 10 all-time among the league’s most prolific goalscorers. They also gave a much-needed boost to an otherwise frustrating season for the 32-year-old.

“Personally, you know, I’ve been trying to score since the first game of the season, and it hasn’t come,” Zardes said. “But you have to keep your head down. You have to keep working. And sure enough, you know, the goals came tonight.”

ATXFC killed off the remaining 20 minutes of the match to clinch a valuable three points and vault back into the Western Conference playoff picture with a dozen matches remaining in the regular season.

Q2 goes wild. See Joe Nogalski’s photo gallery. (photo by Joe Nogalski)

“Momentum is a big word that we talk about,” head coach Josh Wolff said. “I think you can capitalize when you have that momentum.”

“The guys continue to persevere, grind, and find ways to get results, and we’ve got to continue to push.”

Austin FC next faces Seattle Sounders FC on Saturday, July 13 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, Gyasi Zardes, MLS, New York City FC, Josh Wolff

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