Djitte, the U22 Initiative player brought in to bolster Austin's offense this summer from Ligue 2 side Grenoble, got the elusive opener in the 64th minute. Gaines, who grew up playing soccer with an Austin youth club before picking up a midseason contract with his hometown club after time in Germany, then grabbed the clincher 15 minutes later.
With the win, Austin snapped a five-game losing streak, while the Galaxy's winless streak has hit seven games as they drop to fifth in the Western Conference and begin to look over their shoulders (and at the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs line) with increasing anxiety.
Early in the match, the Galaxy got the best of the chances, with Chicharito in on goal in the second minute but sending his shot straight at Brad Stuver and Victor Vazquez going just wide of the post in the sixth minute. Austin, meanwhile, put on a passing clinic between the 18s but didn't get a shot on goal until the 33rd minute, when Julio Cascante got his head on a Tomas Pochettino free kick.
Djitte had Austin's best chance of the half in the 44th minute, getting off his own shot rather than finding a streaking Diego Fagundez. The Senegalese striker showed his power on the shot but it flashed just off-target.
The teams traded some early chances in the second half giving the keepers a workout, including a 49th-minute Kevin Cabral attempt that Stuver was able to block, and a 55th-minute Cecilio Dominguez attempt that went right to Jonathan Bond.
But then two newcomers made their impact. First, Djitte put a shot on frame that Bond parried, but the Austin striker got the rebound and rifled past the Galaxy 'keeper on the second attempt. Pochettino nearly doubled the lead on a 70th-minute free kick notable for its long set-up and for Chicharito lying behind the wall, which just skimmed over the crossbar.
Then in the 79th minute, Gaines was played in front of goal by Nick Lima and hit a highlight-reel-worthy finish to the delight of the ever-raucous Austin FC faithful.
- THE BIG PICTURE: While there are a few matches where Austin might have been more electric or prolific, this is as good and complete as they’ve looked all season, and Djitte’s role in leading the line has a lot to do with that. The expansion team’s been snakebit with their striker situation all season, but this might be the key that unlocks what Josh Wolff’s been trying to build in Central Texas. For the Galaxy, seven matches without a win is a worrying streak, and while they’re still in the playoff mix, that could quickly change.
- MOMENT OF THE MATCH: While the Djitte goal was long-anticipated, Gaines’ goal was more sentimental for the home crowd, being the first-ever Austin FC goal scored by an Austin native.
- MAN OF THE MATCH: Djitte occupied Galaxy defenders in the game's early goings and broke the scoreless deadlock.