Austin FC steals victory in Houston with Rigoni winner: Embattled DP comes up big with winning goal in 86th minute – Sport

Austin FC winger Emiliano Rigoni scores the winning goal in a 1-0 win over the Houston Dynamo at Shell Energy Stadium (credit: Austin FC)

Never doubt the power of green on 4/20. Austin FC secured its first away win of the 2024 season against the Houston Dynamo on Saturday night, thanks to a stunning goal from winger Emiliano Rigoni, who broke a 0-0 deadlock in the 86th minute.

De Verde and Black were fortunate to escape from Houston without a pending grand theft lawsuit after stealing three points from a game in which they trailed in all major statistical categories (35% to 65% in possession, 7 to 17 in shots, 0.8). to 1.5 in expected goals). But Rigoni gave Austin a pivotal moment of individual brilliance, and in this sport that’s often all it takes to make a difference.

It was the definition of ‘a goal out of nowhere’ as it immediately followed an innocuous goal kick from Brad Stuver. Harmless, until substitute CJ Fodrey – making his first appearance of the season for the ATX senior team – jumped and headed the ball towards the Houston goal. Rigoni reacted first, splitting two Dynamo defenders and then beating goalkeeper Steve Clark with a left-footed shot that deflected off the far post and into the goal line.

“I’m very happy that I can give (my teammates) that goal,” Rigoni said through an interpreter. “This group is fantastic. The connection we have is great and you can see that today, for example, when I scored the goal, everyone was so happy for me and we are always like that.”

Rigoni, the club’s second-highest paid player after Sebastián Driussi, had struggled mightily through the first quarter of the season and recently lost his place in the ATX starting XI.

“When the opportunity came for Emi, I think his first touch was fantastic and he completed it extremely well. And you know, it’s not easy when you’re not playing the minutes that you probably want to play,” head coach Josh Wolff said of his controversial designated player.

Defensively, Austin held firm despite the absence of central defenders Leo Väisänen (foot injury) and Julio Cascante (accumulation of yellow cards). Veterans Brendon Hines-Ike and Matt Hedges played confidently in front of goalkeeper Brad Stuver, who extended his lead in MLS saves with six saves, including a highlight-reel three. Stuver achieved his second clean sheet of the season.

The win improved Austin FC’s stellar record against its state rival to six wins in nine games, and moved the club to seventh in the ever-changing Western Conference standings. The last few weeks have been profitable for El Tree, with three wins from the last four matches.

Austin then returns home for a big Saturday matinee (kick-off 12.45pm) against the LA Galaxy, who have lost just once this season so far.

For more news and analysis from Austin FC, visit The Austin Chronicle‘s Austin FC hub. Follow columnist Eric Goodman of “The Verde Report” on X: @good man.