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All brakes, no gas: Austin FC plummets to bottom of the West in 3-0 loss to Houston Dynamo

Austin FC lost a 3-0 heartbreaker to the Houston Dynamo on Saturday. (Austin FC/Twitter)

Austin FC saw their largest margin of defeat to date as they succumbed to last-place team Houston Dynamo in a 3-0 road loss on Saturday.

Both teams were tied for last in the West prior to the match, but the Dynamo stole the show in the "battle for the basement" match as Houston star Darwin Quintero struck with a goal in the first minute of play. The goal proved fateful for a sputtering Austin team as they gave up their quickest goal to date.

While Austin went without a shot on goal for the first half, a speedy Houston offense ran circles around the Verde back line. In the 24th minute, the Dynamos' Fafa Picault got the better of Austin defender Julio Cascante and forced keeper Brad Stuver out of the box to double the lead. He would strike once more in the 64th minute with a fast break and similar shot to the bottom right corner to end the match 3-0 Houston.

Austin lacked the fire needed for Texas Derby rivalry matches for much of the game. Center back Julio Cascante and midfielder Daniel Pereira both saw mistakes that resulted in goals, and Pereira was swapped for defensive midfielder Sebastian Berhalter to finish the match.

Austin FC head coach Josh Wolff said he was disappointed in Pereira and other players' responses to the ball, giving hints that more help was needed to solve the team's woes.

"It's unacceptable, completely unacceptable," Wolff said. "It was never going to be easy, but it doesn't have to be this damn hard."

Fellow midfielder and Captain Alex Ring saw the first shot on goal for the club in the 53rd minute of play, but both he and Designated Player Cecilio Dominguez' efforts were thwarted as home team Houston snapped their 16-game winless streak.

The loss comes as cracks begin to surface in Austin FC's midfield and back line and ends a two-match scoring streak for the team. With the defeat, Austin drops to second to last in the MLS standings.

Austin FC will look to right the ship once again with a home match against West Coast giants LAFC at 8 p.m. on Wednesday.

64' Fafa takes home a second goal

Just as Austin seemed to be regaining confidence, Picault once again shut it down with a fast break that ended in another Houston goal. The goal came just seconds after Cecilio Dominguez's shot nearly gave Austin FC their first goal of the match, but the ball instead pinballed straight past Stuver's hands. Austin is now down 3-0 with less than 30 minutes to go.

46' Wolff makes lineup changes

The team is looking to strike a much different tone for their second half, Wolff has made a few lineup changes to get that spark going.

Midfielder Dani Pereira is paying for his lack of hustle in that fateful first-minute goal, and he'll be replaced by a young Sebastian Berhalter to take on a role as defensive midfielder. He'll be looking to curb the likes of Darwin Quintero and Fafa Picault on the pitch.

A more interesting decision by Wolff has been to take DP Tomas Pochettino off the pitch even as he produced some of the closest shots of the match on the pitch. He'll be replaced by Rodney Redes, who will look to prove himself with his first regular season goal.

24' Austin gives up second goal

Austin is entering a new low this match, and that comes after a 5-3 loss to FC Dallas and lackluster performance in Vancouver.

Houston's Fafa Picault gets the better of Verde and Black defender Julio Cascante and forces Stuver out of the box for an easy shot in the bottom right corner of goal. The goal continues a pattern of slow reactions in Austin's defense as they are left alone time and time again in the match.

Austin will need to find their spark if the wish to keep their dignity against the last-place team in the league.

1' Houston scores first

Much to the chagrin of Austin FC Head Coach Josh Wolff, it was Houston who struck first on their home turf. Austin FC gave up their quickest goal of the season despite keeper Brad Stuver's best efforts as Houston's Darwin Quintero and Griffin Dorsey each took a shot on goal in the first minute of play. Stuver deflects Dorsey's ball, but the block lands in the goal itself as Austin falls to a 1-0 deficit.

Starting lineup

Veteran center back Matt Besler is out on concussion protocol, and in his stead is young powerhouse Jhohan Romana. While Romana has seen some shining moments in his first MLS season, he and fellow back Julio Cascante have seen some stumbles as the team gave up more goals than usual this first match.

Daniel Pereira is back in the middle, while teammate Diego Fagundez has moved up to the wing alongside newcomer Sebastian Driussi. Much like he was before Driussi's debut, Designated Player Cecilio Dominguez will top the lineup in the foward position tonight.


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