Tomas Pochettino scored two goals as Austin FC broke out of its lengthy scoring slump and held on to beat visiting Houston Dynamo FC 3-2 on Wednesday in the first-ever Texas Derby match between the teams.
Austin broke in front in the seventh minute as Pochettino bashed a headed pass from Julio Cascante off the left post that was pushed into the net by Houston defender Zarek Valentin. Sebastian Berhalter also got an assist on the tally.
It was Austin FC’s first goal in 286 minutes, dating to the 81st minute of its 4-1 win over Portland on July 1. Austin (4-8-4, 16 points) had lost three straight matches and gone scoreless since that victory.
The Dynamo (3-5-9, 18 points) have not won in their past 10 games, but seven of those results, including the three most recent outlings, have been draws.
Houston’s chances to win seemed to take a huge hit in the 20th minute when Darwin Ceren was assessed a red card and sent off after hitting Berhalter in the face during a foot-to-foot battle. The Dynamo were forced to play the final 70 minutes with just 10 men.
But Houston tied the game in the 27th minute when Tyler Pasher booted home a rebound of a shot by Corey Baird after Austin goalkeeper Brad Stuver made an incredible save on Baird’s attempt.
Pochettino gave the home side the lead for good in the first minute of first-half stoppage time when he netted a shot off a rebound of a try by Diego Fagundez. Houston keeper Marko Maric was able to stop Fagundez’s shot but Pochettino made short work of his opportunity from close range.
Fagundez added an assist in the 56th minute, driving nearly all the goal line to the right of the box before sending a flawless crossing pass across to the far post where Cecilio Dominguez was wide open to head home Austin’s third goal.
Despite being shorthanded, Houston clawed to within a goal on Fafa Picault in the 86th minute, but it was too little, too late.
–Field Level Media