"A big marker for this group": Austin FC record historic comeback at DC United 

From an emotional standpoint, there may not be a more exhilarating result in Austin FC’s short history than Saturday night’s 3-2 comeback win at D.C. United.

The second-year club scored three unanswered goals from the 80th minute onward to send the Black-and-Red to their fourth straight defeat, aided in no small part by DCU striker Ola Kamara’s red card in first-half stoppage time after the Norwegian had bagged a brace.

But the Verde and Black never quit, and goals from Danny Hoesen, Sebastian Driussi and Ruben Gabrielsen – in that order – sealed a massive result at Audi Field.

“This game, is it a signature win to date? Probably,” head coach Josh Wolff said postgame. “There’s big ones where we won our first match at Q2 Stadium\] and won our first match ever at [Colorado, so those are big moments for this club and its short history. But tonight’s a big marker for this group, these men that put that effort together, that stood strong.

“Yeah, we got a little bit of a break maybe or certainly a mistake by their player, but you’ve got to go out and take advantage of that. Our ability to stay calm and now execute what was needed in the game was awesome.”

The result ensures Austin FC finish MLS Week 7 no worse than second in the early Western Conference standings, with first place up for grabs based on how LAFC fare against Sporting Kansas City this Sunday afternoon (4 pm ET | ESPN, ESPN Deportes).

That above fact comes in stark contrast to 2021, when then-expansion ATX slotted second-from-bottom in the Western Conference as MLS’s three Texan sides all entered a rut.

“The vibe [at halftime] was we’re going to win this game,” said Hoesen, who scored his first Austin FC goal after being limited to five appearances (hip surgery) last year. “I think that’s a huge, huge step from last year where if we were behind, especially on the road, then nine out of 10 games we would have lost it. To be in this team and with this spirit and this heart, everybody stays together – it feels almost like a family.”

For Austin, the task now becomes replicating these road results while knowing Q2 Stadium is becoming a fortress of sorts. That combination could spark their first-ever Audi MLS Cup Playoffs appearance later this October.

To get there, Austin will need to lean upon Driussi’s team-leading five goals and two assists. Goalkeeper Brad Stuver is also capable of game-changing moments, as is DP winger Cecilio Dominguez (out pending league investigation).

For now, ATX’s night in the nation’s capital will be remembered for its pulsating and invigorating effect.

“The character and quality of the entire group was awesome to see and awesome to be a part of,” Wolff said. “We’re going to need to continue to do that. The spine of this group, the culture and the environment is strong. But if it wasn’t, days like tonight wouldn’t happen.”