Despite Druissi injury, Austin FC pick up a point in 2-2 draw against the Portland Timbers

Despite Druissi injury, Austin FC pick up a point in 2-2 draw against the Portland Timbers

Although they were without Designated Player and talisman Sebastian Driussi, Austin FC managed a 2-2 away draw against the Portland Timbers at Providence Park. 

The start of the 2023 season has been rough for Austin FC. After reaching the Western Conference semi-finals last year, only to fall to eventual MLS Cup Winner LAFC, the start of this year has been far below expectations.

From losing to Violette AC in the CONCACAF Champions League to only winning two games through ten matches, Josh Wolff’s squad was desperate for a positive result. But that positivity came by way of their 2-2 draw vs. the Portland Timbers.

Even without Sebastian Driussi, who picked up a groin strain mid-week, the men in green pushed through and earned great result on the road against a tough Timbers side. Wolff talked about the absence of Driussi, saying that the Argentine could be out for the foreseeable future.

 “It’s something that could keep him out for a little bit,” Wolff said of the Driussi’s groin strain. “It’s not the best time, but he was desperate to be with his teammates here in Portland. He’s the captain, he’s the leader of this team.”

Wolff also mentioned how other players would need to step up while Driussi is out for the next couple of weeks – particularly praising defender Jon Gallagher and forward Will Bruin for carrying the offensive load during their match against the Timbers.

“I’m glad to see all of our guys contributing,” the Austin coach said. “That’s the only way this works. [Driussi] wearing a Superman cape like he did last year down the stretch, you can’t rely on that so much.”

Also out due to injury will be winger Diego Fagundez who picked up a knock that Wolff said will keep him out for a couple of weeks. Conversely, in positive injury news, center-back Julio Cascante returned from his ten-week injury layoff to log 75 minutes for the men in green. 

 “We wanted Julio to get 75 minutes tonight and he was able to do that successfully, so that bodes well for him and for the group. He gives us calm, quality on the ball. His box defending is fantastic. He gives us another big, big threat on set pieces.”

Despite the injuries, Wolff stated that his team had enough quality to win the game. 

“Obviously disappointing to only get a tie; I think we deserved three points. We came from behind twice, which I think again shows our group’s grit and resiliency as they had last week also. It’s a performance worthy of three points and we will build off it.”

Austin’s last win in MLS came on March 11th, in a 2-1 victory over Real Salt Lake. But they have been scoring goals during the winless streak, and Wolff sees that as a stepping-off point to push for wins once again.

“We put ourselves behind a couple times, but like last week we should have won the game,” Wolff exclaimed. “Like previous games, we should have won games. You shouldn’t have to score three goals every game to win, so I think that’s part of it as well.”

Ultimately, all Wolff is concerned about is whether or not Austin will find their way as the season progresses. They may be lingering at the basement of the Western Conference, but as long as they make it to the playoffs in the end, Wolff – frankly, does not care.

“I don’t know what place we’re in right now, [but] I’m not too concerned about now,” said the 46-year-old.

“I think the end of the season is what’s most important. We’ve got to keep getting better, which I think is clearly the case over the last two performances, and we’ve got to have more ruthlessness and certainly determination to muster up and be on the other side of draws. We’ve got to win some of these games.”

Austin FC will continue their MLS campaign on May 13th as they host FC Dallas at home. 

Video HIGHLIGHTS: Portland Timbers vs. Austin FC | May 6, 2023