Austin FC have crashed out of the 2023 Concacaf Champions League despite their fast-and-furious comeback attempts in Tuesday night’s Round-of-16 second leg, beating Haitain side Violette AC 2-0 at home but losing 3-2 on aggregate.
The Verde & Black faced an uphill climb after losing last week’s first leg, 3-0, at a neutral-site venue in the Dominican Republic amid heavy squad rotation. That hole was too much to overcome, resulting in arguably the greatest upset in the CCL’s modern era – even as Austin deployed a first-choice lineup and Violette’s squad numbers were reduced due to visa entrance issues.
Austin were led by talisman Sebastián Driussi, who bagged a second-half brace with a world-class volley in the 51st minute and a 63rd-minute header that Violette goalkeeper Paul Robert Décius fumbled into his own net.
But Austin’s one-way traffic didn’t produce a third goal that would have forced extra time, partially because of two Video Review decisions at Q2 Stadium.
Driussi thought he began the scoring in the 25th minute, only for referee Oshane Nation to rescind the possible opener for offside. Then a lengthy 71st-minute check was ruled “no penalty” after striker Gyasi Zardes appeared to be fouled in the Violette box.
- THE BIG PICTURE: This is a massive CCL failure on Austin FC’s part, getting eliminated by an opponent they’re expected to beat every time – on overall talent, squad value and more. The MLS side outshot Violette 35-6 on the night, but couldn’t force extra time and suffered catastrophe during their CCL debut. The Leg 1 setback was too damaging for Josh Wolff’s team and Violette’s Hollywood-esque story marches on into the quarterfinals.
- MOMENT OF THE MATCH: For a fleeting moment, Sebastián Driussi’s incredible opener made it seem like a comeback was possible. This was one of the Argentine's 14 shot attempts.
- MAN OF THE MATCH: Violette goalkeeper Paul Robert Décius made nine saves, achieving legendary status in Haiti.
- ATX: Saturday, March 18 at Houston Dynam FC | 8:30 pm ET (MLS Season Pass) | MLS regular season
- VAC: Concacaf Champions League quarterfinals vs. Club León or Tauro FC