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'Battle for the basement' falls in Vancouver Whitecaps' favor in 2-1 Austin FC loss

Despite a commanding goal from Austin FC captain Alex Ring, the club fell 2-1 in a home loss to the Vancouver Whitecaps. (Austin FC/Twitter)

Before, there were injuries, a promise of new signees, bad judgement calls from referees and the difficulties of new players that held Austin FC back.

But the club ran out of excuses as they lost a "battle for the basement" to the Vancouver Whitecaps at home on Wednesday.

Despite a glimmer of hope, Austin remains at the bottom of the Western Conference, dropping four points behind the Whitecaps and two from the Houston Dynamo, their nearest competitor.

Austin saw first-half success as they replicated their triple threat lineup up top. Newcomer Sebastian Driussi, Austin's newest star, made a surprise appearance in the starting lineup after suffering a contusion in the team's Saturday match. Driussi was assisted by Designated Player Tomas Pochettino in creating threats for the team, but it was Captain Alex Ring who struck gold with a header to score the first goal of the match.

Ring's stellar performance, however, was counterattacked early in the second half by Whitecaps defender Jake Nerwitski. Austin FC keeper Brad Stuver staved off a Vancouver header but was unable to block Nerwinski's counterattack as he crashed the box with a close-range shot to the opposite corner.

With the momentum in their hands and DP Cecilio Dominguez already subbed out of the match, Whitecaps newcomer and "Scottish Messi" Ryan Gauld helped turn a fast break into another goal as teammate Brian White doubled the lead.

Austin FC was unable to recover as they finished their third straight match with a loss.

Head coach Josh Wolff, who has been facing criticism by frustrated fans for his substitution decisions, said supporters have a right to criticize the team as their playoff dreams slip further from their grasp.

'It's a low moment," Wolff said. "We're all open to criticism. It hasn't been good enough. I'm disappointed, the players are disappointed and we need to get better."

Wolff said the team's 10-man 1-0 loss to Real Salt Lake affected the team's physical performance, especially that of Dominguez, who he said was unable to keep up in the match.

"It was affecting our ability to play," Wolff said.

Austin will look to recover from the disappointing loss as they face the Portland Timbers, who they last beat 4-1 in one of their few home victories this season, in another home match on Saturday.


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