AUSTIN (KXAN) — Austin FC put two in the back of the net against the Portland Timbers on Saturday at Providence Park, but for the second week in a row, all they have is a tie to show for it.
Will Bruin scored an equalizer in second-half stoppage time to snag a point in the Western Conference standings for the Verde and Black. Bruin came on in the 84th minute for Gyasi Zardes and found his way on the end of a tremendous cross by Owen Wolff. Bruin raced into the box and pushed a headed goal from the edge of the 6-yard box into the bottom right corner of the net to snatch a draw from the jaws of defeat.
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It was Bruin’s first goal for Austin FC after joining the team via free agency before the season began.
Austin FC fell behind in the 33rd minute after Portland’s Dario Zuparic scored, but the goal-scoring defender Jon Gallagher did it again. Emiliano Rigoni found a completely unmarked Gallagher charging in from the right side. Gallagher finished his team-leading fourth goal with an easy header to get the match back to even and 1-1.
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Portland’s Claudio Bravo hit a low, skipping shot through traffic from outside the 18-yard box that ended up in the net to give the Timbers a 2-1 lead in the 71st minute. Austin FC head coach Josh Wolff said the team’s effort should have been enough to get them a win, but they allowed a couple “silly” goals.
“Our guys executed our game plan perfectly,” Wolff said. “We gave up a couple of goals that were quite soft, but our ability to keep the ball, move the opponent and challenge them in a lot of ways to put them under stress was extremely good. Obviously, disappointing to only get a tie when we deserved three points.”
Injuries are still a big story with Austin FC. While defender Julio Cascante logged 74 minutes coming off a groin injury that kept him about for over two months, now captain Sebastian Driussi picked up a groin injury in the middle of the week. He didn’t play against the Timbers and Wolff isn’t sure how long he’ll be out of the lineup. Having Cascante back will certainly help solidify the defensive end for Austin FC moving forward, and only time will tell how long Driussi will be on the sideline.
“It’s something that could keep him out for a little bit, and it’s not the best time,” Wolff said. “We’ll learn more about it as he makes progress.”
Another adjustment Wolff made against Portland was the use of five defenders and four midfielders with a lone striker. He said that helped Portland not get into transition as much, and with Driussi out, some of the midfielders will have to push forward and create more scoring opportunities. With six more matches coming this month for Austin FC, plenty of players should get those chances.
It’s a quick turnaround for Wednesday’s U.S. Open Cup match against New Mexico United, but they’ll be at the friendly confines of Q2 Stadium and the confidence that comes with scoring four goals over the past two matches could lead to a barrage at home. Kickoff is scheduled for 8 p.m.