In a Heineken Rivalry Week match that became a showcase for Jesus Ferreira and Ricardo Pepi, Austin FC and FC Dallas traded goals in the first 13 minutes, and then Dallas struck with three unanswered goals before halftime en route to a 5-3 win at Q2 Stadium on Sunday evening.
FC Dallas have now won both matches in this new Texas rivalry, after a 2-1 victory at Toyota Stadium earlier this month, and with the victory on their first trip to Q2 Stadium Luchi Gonzalez’s side move to within a single place and point of the playoff line in the Western Conference.
The first goal came less than five minutes in, with Pepi pressuring some too-languid passing in their own box between Brad Stuver and Julio Cascante, resulting in a turnover that Ferreira pounced on for the opener. Then, Cascante found a redemption arc eight minutes later, getting on the end on a long diagonal cross from Zan Kolmanic to equalize.
Then Dallas took over. First, Pepi got his 10th goal of the season in the 36th minute, when Szabolcs Schon got down the right wing and found Pepi open for the finish. Then, two minutes after, Ferreira got his brace, cleaning up a rebound on a Schon shot blocked by Matt Besler. Then, just two minutes after that, Pepi joined him in the two-goal club, ending up one-on-one with Stuver to take him near post.
Austin went with a triple sub coming out of the break to switch out two defensive pieces and to bring in Tomas Pochettino. It would be FCD getting on the board first, though, with Jader Obrian entering the scoring party in the 53rd minute after subbed-in center back Jhohan Romana inadvertently headed into his path for another Austin defensive miscue.
But the scoring was far from done, with Austin ensuring a tense final 30 minutes-plus. Sebastian Druissi helped Austin back into the match, providing a deft assist for an equally deft Diego Fagundez goal in the 59th minute. Nine minutes later, Alex Ring headed in a cross from halftime sub Hector Jimenez to spark still-singing Austin fans’ thoughts of a comeback. Though that wasn’t quite in the cards, U22 Initiative striker Moussa Djitte did make his debut in verde as Austin tried to kitchen-sink their way back into the match.
Ferreira had a chance at beyond-insurance goal in stoppage time, but hit the post to miss out on his chance at a hat trick, adding to what ended up the highest combined xG total of the 2021 season, with the teams combining for a jaw-dropping 6.26.
- 5′ — DAL— Jesus Ferreira |
- 13′ — ATX — Julio Cascante |
- 36′ — DAL — Ricardo Pepi |
- 38′ — DAL — Jesus Ferreira |
- 40′ — DAL — Ricardo Pepi |
- 53′ — DAL — Jader Obrian |
- 59′ — ATX — Diego Fagundez |
- 68′ — ATX — Alex Ring |
- THE BIG PICTURE: FC Dallas owns this new Texas rivalry so far, and with the road win, get back into the playoff mix in what should be a wild final two months of the regular season. It was obviously an opportunity for Pepi and Ferreira to show what they might be able to do come playoff time, but Dallas also displayed a total team cohesion. To Austin’s credit, they didn’t fold when down 4-1 and then 5-1, but it’s obviously a match that shows the level of work that has to be done.
- MOMENT OF THE MATCH: Pepi’s second goal showed his individual skill and was the third goal in four minutes to turn a 1-1 deadlock into a decisive Dallas win.
- MAN OF THE MATCH: Though Pepi was excellent, Ferreira stayed in longer and save for a wicked post save, very nearly scored more.
- Next Up
- ATX: Saturday, Sept. 4 at Vancouver Whitecaps FC | 7 pm ET (MLS LIVE on ESPN+)
- DAL: Saturday, Sept. 4 at Real Salt Lake | 8 pm ET (UniMás, TUDN, Twitter)
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