Austin FC booked their place in the Western Conference Final with a 2-1 win over Texas rivals FC Dallas on Sunday evening.
Having already seen off Real Salt Lake on penalties in their MLS Cup Playoffs debut, the Verde and Black were the heavy favorites in front of another sold-out crowd at Q2 Stadium.
And it didn’t take long for Josh Wolff’s side to assert their dominance, taking a 1-0 lead through Moussa Djitte after some heavy pressure in the 26th minute. Just three minutes later, Sebastian Driussi carved open the Dallas defense and finished into the far corner to give ATX a convincing 2-0 half-time lead.
However, Dallas came out strong after the break and pulled one back in the 65th minute as Argentine sensation Alan Velasco pounced inside the box and fired the ball home.
Dallas continued to push from there but whether by the acrobatics of goalkeeper Brad Stuver, heroic defending, or plain luck, Austin managed to hold out for their first-ever win in this fixture.
As FC Dallas head home, Austin FC will now prepare for a Western Conference Final clash against Supporters’ Shield-winners LAFC.
Read on for full player ratings from Sunday’s Texas derby:
GK: Brad Stuver – 7/10 – Helpless on the Dallas goal but did well otherwise.
RB: Nick Lima – 7/10 – Generally solid but was left a little exposed in the build-up to Dallas’ goal. Got forward well.
CB: Julio Cascante – 7/10 – Got through all his defensive work, a few clumsy fouls and a yellow card aside.
CB: Ruben Gabrielsen – 7/10 – Dealt with the Dallas threat well for the most part, though he struggled a little more once Franco Jara was introduced.
LB: Jon Gallagher – 8/10 – Caused plenty of problems with his driving forward runs and crosses into the box. Kept Paul Arriola quiet down his side.
CM: Alex Ring – 7/10 – Culpable for the Dallas goal but got through a lot of defensive work in the middle.
CM: Daniel Pereira – 6/10 – Clean and tidy on the ball but was too slow to react to Pomykal’s cross for Velasco’s goal.
RW: Ethan Finlay – 5/10 – Provided plenty of industry but not quite enough cutting edge.
CAM: Sebastian Driussi – 9/10 – Spearheaded a host of Austin counter-attacks and came up with another magical moment to make it 2-0.
LW: Diego Fagundez – 8/10 – Perhaps could have shown a little more composure in the box but that shouldn’t take away from a menacing performance.
ST: Moussa Djitte – 8/10 – Opened the scoring and was a constant threat until appearing to pick up an injury late in the first half. Slowed down after that and came off just after the hour mark.
SUB: Maxi Urruti (61′, for Djitte) – 5/10 – Failed to get going.
SUB: Emiliano Rigoni (61′, for Finlay) – 8/10 – Added far more creativity than Finlay to the right flank.
SUB: Owen Wolff (84′, for Fagundez) – N/A
SUB: Felipe Martins (84′, for Pereira) – N/A
GK: Maarten Paes – 7/10 – Conceded twice but made a host of big saves to keep his side alive.
RB: Ema Twumasi – 6/10 – Tried his best to influence the game further forward but with little success.
CB: Matt Hedges – 2/10 – Failed to clear the corner that led to the opening goal and was beaten by Driussi on the second, negating any good work he got through.
CB Jose Martinez – 6/10 – Fared better than his partner in holding back the Verde and Black tide.
LB: Marco Farfan – 6/10 – Had an easy enough time defending against Finlay. Sacrificed as Nico Estevez threw on more forwards.
CM: Sebastian Lletget – 6/10 – Created a couple of chances but was far too quiet overall.
CM: Facundo Quignon – 5/10 – Saw plenty of the ball but rarely did anything with it.
CM: Brandon Servania – 2/10 – Barely affected the game with the ball and his sliced header was the start of the comedic defending on the opening goal. Subbed out at half-time.
RW: Paul Arriola – 4/10 – Played a small part in the move for Dallas’ goal but was completely snuffed out otherwise.
ST: Jesus Ferreira – 5/10 – Improved after the break following a non-existent first half but lacked cutting edge.
LW: Alan Velasco – 8/10 – Quiet by his own lofty standards and yet still managed to get on the scoresheet. Incredibly, Estevez chose to withdraw him despite Dallas chasing a second goal. At fault for Austin’s second.
SUB: Franco Jara (46′, for Servania) – 8/10 – Completely changed the game for Dallas with his movement and helped create Velasco’s goal.
SUB: Paxton Pomykal (60′, for Quignon) – 8/10 – Made an instant impact with his cross for Velasco’s goal. Showed far more intent with the ball than Quignon.
SUB: Nanu (60′, for Twumasi) – 5/10 – Didn’t have the desired impact on the game.
SUB: Jader Obrian (76′, for Farfan) – 5/10 – Didn’t get going.
SUB: Tsiki Ntsabeleng (88′, for Velasco) – N/A
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