The Austin Aztex won 3-1 at House Park against Miami FC Saturday night as Eddie Johnson, Lawrence Olum and newcomer Kendall McFayden all entered the scoring sheet. However, despite the score line, the Aztex missed many scoring opportunities and were lucky to walk away with a two goal lead.
Aztex Head Coach Adrian Heath voiced his discontent with his team’s performance: “I thought we were very wasteful in the first half. To be honest, I’m a little bit disappointed with us tonight. We were sloppy in a lot of things we did; I think overall it was a sub-par performance.”
The Aztex pressured hard in the first 10 minutes where the score easily could have been 3-0.
Eddie Johnson in the 8th minute ran onto a ball played over the top, beating the defense and taking a onetime shot that went wide of the goal. A corner from Jamie Watson met Lawrence Olum’s head; however Miami player Mike Randolph cleared the ball off the goal line in the 10th minute.
Miami’s best chance of the first half came after Abe Thompson took a shot from 25 yards out. The shot deflected off Aztex keeper Miguel Gallardo and he was forced to leave his goal line to retrieve the loose ball. Thompson ran onto the ball and took a second shot from inside the box into an open goal but was saved by off the goal line from an Aztex player. Gallardo was then able to scramble back to make the final save.
“It’s uncomfortable for any goalie to come out of his goal but sometimes that’s just how it goes,” said Gallardo about the save. “Fortunately I was able to come out and I was able to beat the guy. Unfortunately they were able to get the rebound, but I was luckily able to get back and make the save.”
Minutes later, the Aztex offense was able to reward the defense’s close encounter by leading 1-0 in the 44th minute. An assist from Lawrence Griffin met Eddie Johnson as he headed the ball into the back of the net.
The second goal came early in the second half with Jamie Watson crossing a low ball to Olum, who tapped the ball in with his left foot to the back corner.
However, those reminiscent of last season were reminded of how the Aztex sometimes struggle with holding off late goals from the opposing teams.
The Aztex defense failed to mark their players as Miami was allowed to dribble inside the box and Paulo Araujo Jr. to take a shot. The shot ricocheted off a Miami player to reach a completely unmarked Thompson, who then took the rebound and scored in the 75th minute.
In extra time, Aztex substitute McFayden ran in behind the Miami defense and beat the goalkeeper in a one versus one to have the game end with the score of 3-1.
This was McFayden’s first goal and season appearance in league play and the Aztex players showed their appreciation by dumping a full water cooler all over the newcomer.
“It’s a dream come true,” said McFayden about the goal. “I have been waiting to have my number called since the beginning of the season. To be called up to the professional team after being on the U-23 team is an amazing opportunity.”
This win marks the Aztex having only lost 1 of their last 18 regular season games and they remain in first place in the USL Conference.
The game also was for a good cause as the Aztex teamed up with The Breast Cancer Research of Texas to auction off autographed warm-ups from the Aztex players to benefit breast cancer research.
The Aztex’s next home game is this Saturday against the Tampa Bay Rowdies at 7:30.