The scoring opened in strange fashion, following Zarek Valentin's 6th-minute takedown of Cecilio Dominguez in the box. The Paraguayan stepped to the spot and confidently hit his penalty kick, but it banged off the left post and skipped across the goalmouth to clang off the right post, then bounced in off goalkeeper Marko Maric for what was recorded as an own goal.
The first half continued with chances on both sides but no scoring, threatening to be just a 1-0 halftime margin, most notably with Maric denying a 36th-minute Moussa Djitte shot. Dynamo dangerman Darwin Quintero also came close to equalizing on a 40th-minute free kick from just outside the box.
But in the fourth minute of first-half stoppage time, Driussi put himself in the AT&T Goal of the Week conversation, weaving to the edge of the box, taking a pass from Alex Ring and gliding it past Maric for a 2-0 halftime lead.
Austin continued to press for a third goal during the second half, including attempts by Driussi and Ring in a flurry of 53rd-minute action, but couldn’t get anything else past Maric. Ring nearly connected with Driussi again in the 72nd minute, but Driussi whizzed Ring’s would-be assist over the bar, and then nearly got himself on the scoresheet in the 80th minute with a saved attempt that led to consecutive dangerous corner kicks.
Fortunately for the hosts, Houston couldn’t muster much to trouble their defense until the closing minutes. Quintero and substitute midfielder Adalberto Carrasquilla got in some rips, but Brad Stuver and his backline held firm very nearly toward the end.
- THE BIG PICTURE: With the win, Austin set up a six-pointer of sorts next Sunday in Frisco. Should Austin win that contest, they’ll leapfrog FC Dallas in the standings and capture a fan-created trophy for best MLS team in Texas based on head-to-head results. Houston, who get a midweek rest like Austin (and unlike most of their compatriots), will appropriately don their orange-and-black kits on Halloween to attempt to haunt the Rapids.
- MOMENT OF THE MATCH: Driussi's goal looked like a fantastic addition to his 2021 highlight reel, but due to the late-match complication that Cascante’s own goal caused, it turned out to be the match-winner.
- MAN OF THE MATCH: Driussi, the Argentine Designated Player, scored his fourth goal of the season to go with five assists in just 14 matches. Certainly, Austin FC sporting director Claudio Reyna is thinking about how to build around Driussi's double-double potential when he gets a full season to shine in MLS next year.