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Three takeaways from Austin's 1-0 breakthrough win to Minnesota United

(Austin FC/Twitter)

Even with the sudden absence of its first Designated Player, Austin FC broke through with a 1-0 victory to Minnesota United at its home fortress, Q2 Stadium, on Sunday evening.

The win marks the club's third of the season, and the Verde and Black are now fourth in the MLS West with a 3-2-1 overall record.

Here are the top three takeaways from the match:

Building a fortress

It had been a few weeks since the ten-goal frenzy that set Austin FC's second season into motion—and after two straight draws and a loss, a bit of sluggishness seemed to return to some of the Austin roster and fanbase.

After a first half that some unnamed (and unamused) writers in the press box labeled the "most boring half of soccer" they'd seen, Austin FC's hard work pulled through in a solid second half, capped by another gorgeous Urruti goal, to solidify the win.

From its "Building The Legend" motto to direct quotes from players and head coach Josh Wolff, Austin has long promised to build a steadfast fortress at Q2 Stadium. And they've pulled it off so far—the club is 7-1-1 in its last nine home matches, and all three of Austin's wins this season have been played inside Q2's walls.

This week, MLS contributor Ari Liljenwall wrote that the stadium is "among the league's most challenging venues for visiting teams," and it has a famed roaring crowd to boot. Thanks to everyone from ardent "La Murga de Austin" band members to everyday fans, Q2 Stadium has had a 20,500-strong crowd for 21 straight weeks and has held the longest streak of sold-out matches in MLS for several weeks straight.

If the club continues to establish dominance at home, it won't be long before the Austin stadium strikes fear (or envy, or both?) in opposing teams for seasons to come.

Life without Ceci

It's been two games now without Austin FC's first Designated Player, Cecilio Dominguez, and there may be many more matches without him ahead.

One of Austin's most consistent starters, Dominguez has been absent for the lineup for two very different reasons. On Thursday, the winger celebrated obtaining his green card after taking a trip to Paraguay last week; by Friday, he was announced as suspended indefinitely from the Verde and Black roster pending an investigation into "possible off-field misconduct."

MLS and the club have been unclear about what alleged misconduct occurred or how long this could take, but one thing is clear: Austin FC will need to learn how to operate without one of its key players.

Dominguez tied for the most goals scored last season and was on track to do so once more, scoring twice in his five matches played.

Just after he seemed to finally master the club's strongest—and fullest—lineup to date, head coach Josh Wolff has some tinkering to do, and he'll likely need to rethink at least some of his team's offensive strategy.

Luckily, Austin's roster is in tip-top shape. And the club doesn't seem to have lost any of its mojo so far, pulling off a win and an admittedly lackluster draw in his absence. The key will likely come in the form of striker Maxi Urruti, who has scored two of Austin's three goals in that time frame, and Ethan Finlay, the veteran crossing guru who will step up in Dominguez's spot at the wing.

A true striker emerges

For the second match in a row, Austin FC's Maxi Urruti was able to pull out his signature archer post-goal celebration with another highlight reel-worthy goal to help win the match.

Urruti's savvy one-touch shot edged Austin FC over its opponent. And after months—and entire seasons—without a clear striker for the team, he seems ready to fill those long-missing shoes.

With the latest goal, Urruti has racked up two goals and an assist in five starts with the team. He's been impactful both on and off the stat board, supporting fellow goalscorers Sebastian Driussi, Ethan Finlay and Diego Fagundez up front as well.

And if he keeps this momentum, he'll be vital to the team both before and after the Dominguez investigation and could become a fixture to Austin's ever-improving offensive line.


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