In every club’s history stands a moment when legends are crowned.
On Saturday night at Q2 Stadium, Sebastian Driussi carved out another such opportunity when his 94th-minute goal lifted Austin FC to a 4-3 comeback victory over Sporting Kansas City after going into halftime trailing 3-1.
The Argentine midfielder, fresh off an appearance in the 2022 MLS All-Star Game presented by Target midweek, scored nine minutes after Danny Hoesen's absolute golazo equalized the match, lifting the crowd from frenzied to downright euphoric. It all showed on the field after the final whistle when defender Jhohan Romana lifted head coach Josh Wolff into the air in celebration.
“I don’t think I’ve experienced anything like that,” Wolff said after the match. “The intensity and the atmosphere … there are a lot of good stadiums in this league, but the atmosphere here is incredible. They give us spirit, they give us energy – the entire stadium."
Already a top candidate for 2022 Landon Donovan MLS MVP honors – one whose Golden Boot presented by Audi lead now stands at 17 goals and seven assists – Driussi's magical moment came as Austin were staring down a three-game home winless streak. While Hoesen’s wondergoal in the 85th minute tied it up, it was Driussi in stoppage time that elevated Q2 Stadium to new heights.
Off a long throw from the right side, Sporting KC cleared it only as far as Felipe Martins, who volleyed the ball back into the box for Hoesen. The striker turned a sidewinding shot out of midair into the net to equalize and turn momentum completely in favor of ATX.
Then in stoppage time, Driussi came on a late run into the box as the SKC backline followed a cross from left-to-right. It caromed back into the path of the 26-year-old Argentine for a thunderous game-winner past goalkeeper John Pulskamp.
“He’s Driussi,” Wolff shrugged when asked to compare his star to greats in other sports. “He’s extremely important to this group. He’s extremely important to this league when you see what he’s able to do and what he’s been doing since he got here.”
With a rally that Wolff called "pretty euphoric," Austin stay on the heels of LAFC, trailing the Supporters’ Shield leaders by six points with nine regular-season games remaining. Among those tests? An Aug. 26 matchup between the Verde & Black and Black & Gold at Q2 Stadium (8 pm ET | ESPN, ESPN Deportes), a Friday night showdown that could effectively determine who earns the Shield in 2022.
Saturday's comeback win stands to lift Austin back into form with two months remaining in the regular season. The key to maintaining composure when facing adversity for Wolff’s second-year side? Sticking to the plan.
“We took a shot in the face. So what? That’s life. You’ve got to pick yourself up and keep moving,” he said after the match. “We don’t throw the plan out. The plan is exactly what we go back to and that’s why this team performs. If you look at the games that we’ve come back, there’s a really clear blueprint each time. We’re very structured, very organized and we do a great job with it.”