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Austin FC loses 1-0 to youngest lineup in league history

Austin FC fans chanted with members of Black Pumas as Austin FC took on the Seattle Sounders. (Austin FC/Twitter)

Turns out patience was not a virtue for Austin FC fans.

After a two-week MLS break, the club still couldn't find its footing in goal as they fell 1-0 to No. 1 Seattle Sounders at Q2 Stadium.

Even as player wounds were patched and Seattle sent the youngest starting lineup in MLS history onto the Verde pitch, Austin's front line couldn't capitalize on their chances given and suffered their fifth scoreless match in six games.

Head coach Josh Wolff said he was feeling a number of emotions, most of which weren't positive, after the match.

"Frustration and disappointment...Seattle's a very good team, regardless of what players they put out there, so it's always going to be a challenge," Wolff said. "More disappointing was just the lack of structure. What we'd worked on the last 5-6 days, that was not on display in the first half."

Seattle put five teenagers on the pitch to start the match, including Obed Vargas, who, at 15, is the third-youngest player in the MLS record books to appear in a match. Meanwhile, Austin saw the return of starters Tomas Pochettino and Captain Alex Ring but were still missing starters Danny Pereira and Nick Lima.

Austin kept a slight advantage over the young Seattle team in the first half, maintaining 74% possession and solid passing game. When Raul Ruidiaz came onto the pitch, however, the tables turned for the home team.

No crystal ball was needed to predict a Ruidiaz goal, but no fortuneteller could've predicted a goal like that. After an Austin FC deflection, Ruidiaz showed off his stellar soccer IQ far behind the box and chipped it over Stuver's head. Ruidiaz is now the top scorer in MLS.

Austin saw one reach goal for defender Julio Cascante, who dove into goal with his ball after a successful diving header. After a review, however, the goal was disallowed. Ruidiaz appeared to score yet another goal but was called offsides just seconds later.

The near-undefeated Seattle has now lost just one match in their 15-match season as they continue to top the MLS. Meanwhile, Austin's scorelessness could put the club in the hot seat as they continue to struggle to get the ball in the net.

Even with a decent defensive effort thus far this season, Wolff said that not scoring goals just won't cut it.

"From a goal-scoring's been lackluster and poor," Wolff said. "The reality is that we haven't scored goals, and defensively we've been fairly solid, but you've got to score goals to win games... tonight, it wasn't good enough, in any regard."

Here's a look at exactly what happened in Austin's second home loss:

Injury report

Danny Pereira is one of six Austin FC players still out on injury tonight. (Austin FC/Twitter)

Austin FC has seen some much needed starters make a quick recovery over the break, including winger Jon Gallagher, but they've still got five players out on injury as they face the Sounders.

Here's who's still out of the mix:

  • Nick Lima- right back
  • Danny Pereira- midfield
  • Danny Hoesen- striker
  • Ben Sweat- left back
  • Aaron Schoenfield- defense

Austin FC starting lineup

For the first time in a long time, Rodney Redes is starting back as right winger after scoring the lone goal against the Tigres last week. He and Kekuta Manneh will flank Cecilio Dominguez at striker.

Pochettino and Captain Alex Ring have once again brought some solidity to midfield. Pochettino edges closer to his first MLS goal every match, while Fagundez completes the trio with a fiery desire to score.

Austin's defense looks much the same, with Hector Jimenez still in at right back for an injured Nick Lima.

Seattle makes history with youngest-ever starting squad

The future of MLS is on the field.

Is this a slap in the face to Austin, a chance to get some young players some experience or just the result of injuries and international call-ups? Either way, Seattle is making history tonight as five teenagers hit the pitch for the first time in a regular season MLS match.

Among the youngest- ever- is Obed Vargas, a 15-year-old mifielder who is the third-youngest player in MLS history to appear in a match. Not far off is Austin FC's Diego Fagundez, who started as a 16-year-old himself.

They're holding up well against Austin, who has held on to possession and found a few very close chances but is once again fumbling in the final third. The Sounders have some of the lowest possession in the league but are also one of the most efficient, scoring second-most in the league per game.

Homegrown Manneh makes the first crack at goal

Winger Kekuta Manneh, the only player with roots in Austin, pulls an optical illusion as he expertly twists a header near goal off of a penalty kick. It's close enough to get the crowd riled up but not close enough to change the scoreboard.

At the half: few highlights, no goals against Sounders scrubs

Is Austin FC being outplayed by five teenagers and more Sounders scrubs? Not quite- the club holds 73% possession and has better passing accuracy- but it's definitely closer than players and head coach Josh Wolff would like.

Austin has had just four goals in five matches, and they were all in the same match. Wolff is likely feeling the pressure of a team that can't quite close near goal. On the bright side, the club is once again holding the No. 1 team in the league scoreless, even if it is their scrubs.

As Austin fought through the extra minute of halftime, fans in the supporters section sang Austin band Black Pumas' song "Colors" with none other than the band itself. They're still loud as ever as Austin fights to turn it around and take their second home win.

56' Gallagher makes a comeback

Austin subs in winger Jon Gallagher for the first time since he used his injured foot to score the club's first home goal. Gallagher could provide some much-needed juice to the Austin offense as both clubs fight for the first goal.

Meanwhile, Seattle is bringing in the big guns with striker Raul Ruidiaz, who is tied for the most goals in MLS this season. Austin will have a much harder time keeping the dam closed with Ruidiaz at the stead.

66' Ruidiaz scores for Seattle

No crystal ball was needed to predict a Ruidiaz goal, but no fortuneteller could've predicted a goal like that. After an Austin FC deflection, Ruidiaz shows off his stellar soccer IQ far behind the box and chips it over Stuver's head. Ruidiaz is now the top scorer in MLS, and Austin is down 1-0 to Seattle for the first time.

76' Austin FC goal disallowed, Ruidiaz nearly makes it two

It's not often that a player rolls in goal after the ball they score, but Austin FC defender Julio Cascante pulled it off perfectly. Cascante's diving header was enough to put the ball in the net, but his first Austin FC goal was disallowed.

The dominoes seemed to be tumbling down just minutes later when Ruidiaz appeared to get in yet another goal less than two minutes later, but his attempt was also called offsides.

A lot of excitement, but the score remains 1-0 Seattle.


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