Austin FC’s season ends with 3-0 loss at Portland — what’s next?

Austin FC

PORTLAND (KXAN) — Austin FC’s first season ended on a low note with a 3-0 loss to the Portland Timbers Sunday night in Portland.

Austin opened the match with a real threat on goal. Cecilio Dominguez appeared to put Verde ahead in the third minute, but the ball struck his forearm as he attempted to handle the ball in the box. The ball hit the back of the net, but it was disallowed for the handball.

From there, Portland took over. Late in the first half, the Timbers held a 10-1 advantage over Austin in total shots. Portland put two in the back of the net before the intermission.

It was Austin’s inability to clear the ball out of its own end that led to Portland’s goals.

Cristhian Paredes put Portland ahead in the 17th minute after some excellent passing from the Timbers. Jaroslaw Niezgoda was able to give Portland a comfortable advantage in the final minute of the half after another Austin FC mistake near its own end.

Sebastian Blanco put the game away in the 53rd minute, scoring Portland’s third goal of the game.

What’s next for Austin FC?

Austin guaranteed it wouldn’t finish at the bottom of the Western Conference standings with its win over Sporting KC earlier this week in the final game of the season from Q2 Stadium. Portland has already clinched the No. 4 seed in the postseason.

Verde will finish No. 12 during its inaugural season of competition. Austin finishes two points behind FC Dallas. Austin won nine games, lost 21 and drew four.

This wasn’t what Austin had in mind for its first season of professional soccer, but there’s reason for optimism. Austin’s in-season signings of Sebastian Driussi and Moussa Djitte should be considered a success by the front office.

Driussi scored five goals in 16 starts this season. Djitte provided Austin with a spark during the stretch run of the season

The 2022 MLS season will kickoff on Feb. 26.

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