FRISCO, TX – When all major prizes are out of reach, you have to be grateful to still have something to play for at the tail end of a season. Such was the case last night when Austin FC squared off against FC Dallas in Frisco. The teams were not only contesting three points but also in-state bragging rights in the guise of Copa Tejas, the MLS ‘Lone Star State’ supporters’-created ‘Best of Texas’ trophy. Dallas needed only a draw to secure the silverware. Austin had to go all-out for the win. They did so – but came up short, as the hosts snatched a 2-1 victory under somewhat dubious circumstances.
FC Dallas takes Copa Tejas trophy with a win over Austin FC
With just three games remaining this season, it’s hard not to sound like a broken record when recapping Austin FC matches. 20 of them have ended in defeat, many of them in a somewhat similar fashion. However, Austin did come into this Dallas game with a win against the other Texas rivals Houston Dynamo. Verde started the better of the two contestants. As the rhythm of the game developed it looked like both were playing for what they needed. Austin was forcing the issue in an effort to earn the required victory. Dallas seemed content to sit deep and absorb the pressure, countering when the opportunity presented itself.
— Austin FC (@AustinFC) October 31, 2021
On the 36-minute, the man who had scored arguably Austin’s most iconic goal to date, their first ever, Diego Fagundez, rose to the occasion once more. ATX had been knocking on the door most of the half, with efforts from Sebastian Driussi and Cecilio Dominguez either narrowly missing the mark or testing Dallas keeper Jimmy Maurer.
There was no stopping Verde’s Uruguayan winger, though, when he cut in from the left and bent a peach of a shot from the edge of the box into the far top corner. The goal represented Fagundez’s 60th professional strike, astonishing for a player who has played the bulk of his career so far either in midfield or out on the wing. Barely had the cheers and chants from the traveling Verde Vanguard subsided before the hosts were back on terms less than two minutes later. Some poor pressing, loose marking, and suspect decision-making left Jesús Ferreira free on the back post for a tap-in.
Dallas began the second half the peppier of the two teams, perhaps remembering Austin’s penchant for slow restarts. They came close a couple of times before on 58 minutes a speculative ball over the top left an isolated Hector Jimenez scrambling to catch Paxton Pomykal. That there was some contact is beyond question. Jimenez certainly laid an arm on Pomykal’s shoulder. That it was enough for the Dallas forward to take the theatrical tumble that he did? Let’s file that performance under ‘Halloween Horror Show’. Regardless, Jimenez was shown a red card. Austin now had a hill to climb.
FRANCO OFF THE VOLLEY BABY pic.twitter.com/3Xp8dEOgKn
— FC Dallas (@FCDallas) October 31, 2021
That hill became a mountain with 10 minutes to go. Frisco Sub Franco Jara converted a tidy half-volley to give the hosts a lead that only the most dyed-in-the-wool Dallas fan could suggest was well-deserved. Austin had been the better team since going a man-down. Indeed, Sebastian Driussi so nearly gave the visitors the lead themselves five minutes earlier when his cushioned back-post volley sailed narrowly over the bar before coming to rest on the roof of Maurer’s net.
Final Words on FC Dallas winning the Copa Tejas trophy
Last Word: Of all the bitter pills that Austin has had to swallow this season, this is perhaps the bitterest. Three defeats to Dallas confirmed Verde’s position as – on paper – the worst team in Texas. And then to have to watch the home team raise the Copa Tejas…it’s a lot.
But, as I alluded to earlier in the recap, it’s what season-long-suffering Austin fans have come to expect. They’ll be hoping they can expect better next year, especially versus their derby rivals. Before the year ends though, Austin will have their last home game this year against Sporting Kansas City. The game will take place at 9:00 A.M. ET. They will then travel back to the road against the Portland Timbers. The game will take place at 6:00 p.m. ET on Sunday, November. 7.
Photo credit to Austin FC on October 30, 2021.