In a tale of two halves, Austin FC saw a deja vu moment in a road match against the Vancouver Whitecaps as they failed to curb a two-goal comeback from the home team as they lost 2-1 Saturday night.
With the goal, Austin begins a two-match losing streak after their first match abroad while Vancouver reached a ten-match undefeated streak.
Despite the scoreboard, it was Austin who held the advantage over the home team in the first half as triple threat Designated Players Sebastian Driussi, Tomas Pochettino and Cecilio Dominguez work together to get the first goal.
Pochettino passed the ball to himself to move up the pitch, sending the ball to Dominguez before Driussi connected with a deliberate bouncing header for his second goal with the team to finish the first half.
But Austin handed the reins to Vancouver in the second half of play. After a series of errors from Austin FC defenders, Vancouver's Déiber Caicedo and Érik Godoy score on a header and deflection to win the match. The goals came despite efforts from Austin FC keeper Brad Stuver, who tallied six saves in the match.
Still at the bottom of their conference, Austin will look to capitalize on a "battle for the basement" match as they face off against rivals Houston Dynamo in Houston on Saturday, September 11.
Here were the biggest plays of the match:
83' Vancouver tallies a 2-1 lead
A series of errors, including a slow reaction from Jhohan Romana, leads the Whitecaps to a 2-1 late-match lead after Brad Stuver blocks a shot but is unable to block a deflection scored by the Whitecaps' Déiber Caicedo. Looks like it could be a tale of two halves as the scoresheet once again resembles the outcome from their last match against Vancouver.
70' Vancouver ties it up
Just as Austin seemed to be regaining balance in the match, Vancouver's Érik Godoy sends a header into goal to tie the match 1-1.
In response, Austin newcomer Moussa Djitte and Jared Stroud come in for Dominguez and Driussi to bring some fresh legs onto the pitch.
62' Stuver keeps Vancouver at bay
Just after keeping Vancouver's first good shot out of goal, Stuver blocks not one, but two shots in a row from separate sides of the net as he wins a one-on-one standoff with the Whitecaps' Brian White. Stuver is back in top form after a shakier performance against FC Dallas.
59' Austin makes their first sub
As the Vancouver Whitecaps begin to take their signature second-half control, Austin FC makes their first move towards a defensively-minded lineup as center back Jhohan Romana goes in for forward Jon Gallagher.
A minute later, Brad Stuver just chips a shot by Vancouver's Florian Jungwirth over the net as the Whitecaps tally their first shot on goal of the match. Vancouver has the upper hand as they attempt to repeat their 2-1 win over Austin in August.
45+' Austin FC scores!
With one goal and three assists, Sebastian Driussi's already racked up stats with new team Austin FC, and he just added new fuel to the fire as he scored his second goal for the team in the final minutes of the first half.
The goal was a tale of three DPs as Designated Player Tomas Pochettino passed the ball to himself to move up the pitch, sending it to Cecilio Dominguez before Driussi connected with a deliberate bouncing header into goal.
Austin FC finished the half with a 1-0 lead in a half that saw no shots on goal from home team Vancouver.
7' Fagundez receives a yellow card
Go time from Vancouver. 🤝 pic.twitter.com/qyxel7Ay4b— Austin FC (@AustinFC) September 4, 2021
Just as they did last week with a Julio Cascante goal, Austin FC made the first scoring attempt as Austin got the first shot on goal in the first minute of play.
As both teams battle with what seems to be an especially physical match on Vancouver's artificial turf, midfielder Diego Fagundez receives a yellow card in the seventh minute of play. Fagundez, who often makes a difference on both sides of the ball, will need to tread a bit more lightly if he's to stay in the match.
Head Coach Josh Wolff has brought Hector Jimenez back in the back line, flanked by Julio Cascante, Matt Besler and Nick Lima. All remains the same in the front end with new striker Driussi and Dominguez leading the scoring front, but Jon Gallagher has been put back in for midfielder Daniel Pereira.
As always, Brad Stuver is in goal, Captain Alex Ring leads the middle and hustler Diego Fagundez is in the mix.
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After months of speculation, a new report says political personality Beto O'Rourke is mulling a run for Texas governor that he will announce later this year.
Sources tell Axios the former congressman is preparing his campaign for the 2022 election, where he will likely vie for the position against incumbent Gov. Greg Abbott. The only other candidate that has announced he will take on Abbott for governor is former Texas GOP Chairman Allen West—no Democrats have announced they are running as of yet.
"No decision has been made," Axios reports David Wysong, O'Rourke's former House chief of staff and a longtime adviser, said. "He has been making and receiving calls with people from all over the state."
A new poll from The Dallas Morning News and University of Texas at Tyler shows O'Rourke is narrowing the gap between himself and Abbott's prospects for governor. In the poll, 37% said they'd vote for O'Rourke over Abbott, while 42% said they'd vote for Abbott.
Abbott has been in the hot seat due to his handling of COVID-19 and the signing of landmark legislation into law, including new abortion and voting rights laws; 54% of poll respondents voted they think the state is headed in the "wrong direction." Still, Texas hasn't had a Democrat as governor since the 90s.
O'Rourke's people-focused approach to the 2018 Senator race, which he lost to Sen. Ted Cruz, gave him a widespread following and many hoped he'd throw his hat into the ring since he said he was considering it earlier this year.
"We hope that he's going to run," Gilberto Hinojosa, the state chair of the Democratic Party, told Axios. "We think he'll be our strongest candidate. We think he can beat Abbott because he's vulnerable."
Austin rapper Jordi Esparza may not have won the 2021 Red Bull Batalla, the world's largest Spanish freestyle rap competition, but for a spirited two rounds, the 22-year old Mexican native looked like he had every right to.
On Saturday evening in Los Angeles, the event itself looked like Cobra Kai meets Star Search with graphics adding a very Batman Beyond aesthetic. Over a dozen rappers hoping to represent the U.S. in the international round of the competition took to the stage with in-your-face jabs at accents, sexual orientation and odors, among other things.
This was Esparza's second rodeo; he had placed third at the 2020 National Finals, automatically securing him a spot this year.
However, things were different this year. He was not nervous about the contest. Unlike in 2020, when he made his Red Bull Batalla debut, the anxiety of the event led him to "feeling so bad."
Affecting a casual calm, the locally-based landscaper said he just felt "so relaxed, so happy" and primarily wanted to "enjoy everything."
Choosing his first-round opponent, Esparza, whose stage name is Jordi, elected to go against LA-based Boss.
Esparza freestyled an attack on his opponent's weight and cholo style of dress.
Boss—bracketing his Latin freestyle with English appeals to the crowd—mocked Jordi's lack of education, made fun of how clean Jordi's shoes looked and suggested that Jordi just came back from a Footlocker.
That first round went to Jordi.
But his next opponent Eckonn would prove to be his undoing.
Eckonn compared Jordi to Hannah Montana, while Jordi soulfully explained that he had learned from the best.
Esparza's verbal dexterity is matched by a rattling rhythm and a game face that is as mawkish as it is mockish. The overall effect is that of an underdog with bite.
Eckonn beat Esparza in that round with the overall championship going to Palm Beach-based rapper Reverse.
However, Esparza was just happy to be there. He recently told Austonia going to the finals again was a dream come true—a pinnacle that he said he won't know how to top.
With his nimble jabs and sneaky prowess, honed from pop culture and the swagger of a young working man hungry to be more, Jordi Esparza is just getting started.