AUSTIN (KXAN) — Costly turnovers in the second half by Austin FC led to St. Louis City FC notching its first-ever win in Major League Soccer 3-2 on Saturday at Q2 Stadium.
Former Austin FC player Jared Stroud took an awful pass by defender Kipp Keller and tied the match with an easy goal in the 78th minute, and then Keller was beaten by João Klauss on a counterattack eight minutes later for the game-winning goal.
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“Obviously, a difficult night,” Austin FC head coach Josh Wolff said. “There were some moments where it was good, but then we got punished by a couple of mistakes.”
Keller, a first-round draft pick for Austin FC last year, came on for an injured Julio Cascante eight minutes into the match. Wolff didn’t have an update on Cascante’s injury during the postgame press conference.
Wolff said the team has to “build Kipp up,” after his rough night.
“This game is about mistakes, and he’s a young player,” Wolff said. “It’s about how you pick yourself up and move on. He’ll be stronger and better for it, even though it hurts right now.”
Austin FC took the lead in the second half after Jon Gallagher entered the match in the 68th minute. In four minutes of playing time, Gallagher connected on the go-ahead goal from a Diego Fagundez assist. Fagundez slipped a pass by a defender to Gallagher, and then the Irishman hammered a skipping shot that glanced off the far post and in. The goal gave Austin FC a 2-1 lead, but then it all unraveled.
Austin held 60% of the possession for the game but was outshot 18-13 by St. Louis and 9-2 in shots on goal. Brad Stuver made six saves for Austin FC.
Gyasi Zardes missed a golden opportunity in front of the net in the 55th minute. Emiliani Rigoni swung a perfect ball in from the right side and Zardes tried to slip it in the net with a backheel, but the ball skidded just wide of the far post and went out for a goal kick.
Sebastian Driussi nearly tied to match late in second-half stoppage time, but his header rattled the crossbar and was cleared away with Austin’s final attacking opportunity before the full time whistle blew.
“There’s an internal expectation, and we know how difficult this league is, and you’ve got to grow with the game,” Wolff said. “The game was moving quickly and we needed to get more in control of the game.”
After trailing a goal since the 24th minute, Driussi showed incredible skill with a goal in the fourth minute of first-half stoppage time to send Verde and Black into the break tied 1-1.
Perhaps as equally impressive as Driussi’s 18-yard lob over the top of St. Louis goalkeeper Roman Bürki, newly-acquired center back Leo Väisänen thumped a pass from 3/4 of the field away, hitting Driussi on a dime. Driussi’s deft touch controlled the ball and he calmly chipped a shot over Bürki who came up off his line.
It was a goal that salvaged an otherwise lackluster first half by Austin FC. Driussi’s goal was the squad’s only shot on goal and Verde managed just three shots with 60% of the possession.
Tim Parker scored the first-ever goal for St. Louis with a header off a corner in the 24th minute. St. Louis had eight shots in the first half, five of which were on goal.
Owen Wolff, son of Austin FC head coach Josh Wolff, started at right back over former captain Alex Ring. Ring came on in the 75th minute.
“It’s a competitive group,” Coach Wolff said of the switch. “Owen earned the right to start today, but this is a long season and we need to use a lot of guys.”
Austin FC (0 pts, 0-1-0) is at home again March 4 to take on CF Montreal. St. Louis City FC (3 pts, 1-0-0) will play its first home match at CITYPARK against Charlotte.
FINAL: St. Louis City FC 3, Austin FC 2
86′ – João Klauss collects a pass from Gioacchini and cuts it back on Keller, then hits it with the inside of his right foot to the far post for StL goal. St. Louis City FC 3, Austin FC 2
78′ – Awful turnover by Kipp Keller leads to a StL equalizer. Keller passed it right to former Austin FC man Jared Stroud. Stroud then turned around and fired it by Stuver. Austin FC 2, St. Louis City FC 2
75′ – Ethan Finlay and Alex Ring coming on for Austin FC. Wolff and Fagundez come off.
72′ – AUSTIN FC GOAL: Gallagher’s fresh legs pay off. He hammers one home from the left side of the penalty area about 10 yards out, glancing off the far post and in. Fagunez fed him. Austin FC 2, St. Louis City FC 1
68′ – Kolmanic comes off for Jon Gallagher. Let’s see what the fresh sets of legs can do.
66′ – Austin FC is playing more in the attacking end in the second half, just haven’t been able to string anything together to get a decent shot at goal. StL is defending set pieces well and I think head coach Josh Wolff will address that moving forward.
55′– Zardes with a terrific chance at goal but his backheel skids just wide. He was right in front of the net after a great service in from Rigoni.
Halftime: Austin FC 1, St. Louis City FC 1. Driussi’s gets the late goal to salvage a pretty lackluster half for the home side. StL took eight shots, five on goal, to Austin’s three. The only shot on goal was Driussi’s goal.
45+4′ – AUSTIN FC GOAL: Driussi collects a long pass over the top from Väisänen and then chips one over StL keeper Roman Bürki to equalize. Austin FC 1, St. Louis City FC 1
43′ – A foul by João Klauss wipes a goal off the board for St. Louis FC. Stuver had to make another save a minute later. StL controlling the pace of the first half and Austin FC just doesn’t look well-organized
30′ -Austin FC has yet to register a shot while St. Louis has four, three of them on goal.
24′ -St. Louis scores the franchise’s first-ever goal to take a 1-0 lead. An out-swinging corner finds Tim Parker who heads it in. Stuver was a little late on his punch attempt. St. Louis City FC 1, Austin FC 0
15′ – Stuver parries a header away for a St. Louis corner kick. The ensuing corner kick in the 16th minute was cleared.
8′ – Julio Cascante went to the ground after a pass with no one around him, stayed down for a while before getting up and walking off the field with training staff. Kipp Keller, a first-round draft pick by Austin FC last year, comes on as the first sub of the season.
5′ – St. Louis gets a free kick from 25ish yards and it’s on goal, but right to Stuver who makes a comfortable stop.
7:35 p.m.: Tonight’s tifo
7:10 p.m.: MLS is back in Austin and Verde and Black are kicking off in about 20 minutes. Here’s the starting XI for Austin FC in front of goalkeeper Brad Stuver.
- Back line: Kolmanic, Väisänen, Cascante, Lima
- Defensive midfield: Pereira, Wolff
- Attacking midfield: Fagundez, Driussi, Rigoni
- Striker: Zardes