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Eight points in eight matches for Austin FC after 1-1 draw in Kansas City

Austin FC performed several highlight-worthy plays as he kept the club tied in Kansas City. (Austin FC/Twitter)

What a way to end an eight game road stretch. Battling the heat and a top West Conference team, Austin FC took bullets from Sporting Kansas City as they fought for another point on the road in a 1-1 draw on Saturday.

The club has now accumulated eight points in eight matches towards their standings in the West as they wrap up their era of endless road matches.

For head coach Josh Wolff, averaging a point a game is just as expected.

"(It) doesn't seem amazing, but I've been in this league a long time, and that's worthy of something," Wolff said. "It's certainly above average, I would say, but we've got a lot of work still to do."

Austin's first-ever rematch was eerily reminiscent of their last appearance at Children's Mercy Park. On May 10, Jon Gallagher scored the first point of the match seven minutes of play; this time, Austin struck first once again with another unanswered first-half point.

As if by instinct, Cecilio Dominguez found his stride up front as he casually slipped in a goal in the 25th minute of play.

Dominguez took the striker spot for the second time this season as Austin experimented with 4-4-2 and 5-4-1 formations. With two strikers injured and a thin roster of just 17 healthy players, Wolff said the club is getting "a bit creative" as they wait for their athletes to recover.

After a strong first 45 minutes, Sporting Kansas City took control as the second half began. Kansas finally found the equalizer in the 70th minute of play as an overworked Brad Stuver couldn't quite keep Daniel Salloi from going into goal.

Kansas was stopped time and time again by Stuver, who had a career-best nine saves and produced more highlight-worthy saves than ever to keep the club alive. Stuver said his breakout success this season comes down to a stellar back line, eight years of training and a constant willingness to work.

"I've been working for eight years to get an opportunity like this, to go out and get a run of games where I could actually be the starter," Stuver said. "For me, it's not about proving people wrong or surprising myself. It's just going out every day, training hard and doing what I know I'm capable of."

Looking back at the grueling eight-week stretch at the beginning of Austin FC's existence, Wolff said it's been harder than he thought to keep a team going with so many games on the road. As they head to their home opener June 19, Wolff hopes to see more rest and more goals from the MLS' newest club.

"I think we left goals in a lot of games in these first eight games," Wolff said. "As coaches we certainly take accountability, but (for) our players it's part of the deal (to) come to training continue to work on it."

Austin will be rewarded for their eight-week away stretch with their first home match against the San Jose Earthquakes on Saturday, June 19. Stuver said the team can't wait to play in front of their dedicated Verde fans. "We get to make Q2 our our fortress," Stuver said.


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