Skip to content

Defensive Stumbles in the Texas Heat: New York City lose 2-1 to Austin FC

New York City FC lose their first-ever matchup with Austin FC: A Gyasi Zardes brace seals a comeback win for the hosts.

Not the best day for New York City FC | © Scott Wachter-USA TODAY Sports

New York City FC's trip to Q2 Stadium on Saturday night did not go as planned. A weather delay and the Texas heat did not help NYCFC, who playing an away game on short rest, as they lost 2-1 to Austin FC in the first meeting between the two teams.

Andrés Perea gave New York City the early lead as he was picked out perfectly by Tayvon Gray's cross into the box in the fifth minute. But Gray departed the game just seven minutes later after picking up an injury.

Austin FC striker Gyasi Zardes leveled the game deep into halftime stoppage time, and later scored the game-winner off a counterattack. NYCFC's offense pressed hard but ultimately lacked the creativity seen in the last two games, and the defense struggled against one of the worst-attacking teams in MLS.


New York City: 17 shots, 5 shots on target, 51% possession, 528 passes, 90% pass accuracy, 7 fouls, 2 saves

Austin: 9 shots, 4 shots on target, 49% possession, 454 passes, 86% pass accuracy, 5 fouls, 3 saves

• New York City, Andrés Perea, 5'
• Austin, Gyasi Zardes, 45+7'
• Austin, Gyasi Zardes, 69'

Attendance: 20,738

Fast start

Just like in their previous two games, New York City opened the scoring in the first 15 minutes. The goal started with Hannes Wolf, who kept the ball in play before passing it back to Gray, who crossed it first-time into the box to Perea. The Colombian did well getting to the ball and placing his shot into the top of the net for his second goal of the season.

It was Gray's fifth assist of the season eclipsing the single assist he logged last season over 28 appearances, and his two assists in 2022.

But NYCFC's positive start was short-lived, with Gray coming off the pitch minutes after creating the opening goal due to injury. Mitja Ilenič replaced the Jamaican in a defense that already had center-back Strahinja Tanasijević starting for the injured Birk Risa.

Courtesy g+ GameFlow
That 24/7 New York City press
NYCFC took the fight to the final whistle in their loss to Austin FC: It’s important not to give up, but now they need to find a way to win.

Defensive adjustments take a toll

That defense took another hit when left-back Kevin O'Toole, who complained of muscle discomfort, was subbed out at half-time and replaced by Justin Haak, a right-footed defensive midfielder who last appeared on May 25 against New England Revolution. With this, New York City's backline was missing three of their four starters for half of the game.

It wasn't all bad news. Ilenič, who replaced Gray at right-back, came close to scoring his first goal for the club but hit the crossbar. But then the Slovenian made a mistake leaving Jader Obrian wide open, giving him plenty of space to cross the ball to Zardes, who headed home for the equalizing goal in stoppage time of the first half.

Strahinja Tanasijević struggled in his fifth start. He didn't attempt any tackles, and only won one duel. Tanasijević did make three recoveries, one interception, and one block but was caught out of position for the game-winner. NYCFC dearly missed Risa, who has been consistent and solid all season as Thiago Martins's center-back partner.

Talles Magno transfer rumors link him to Brazil
The 22-year-old attacker is being connected with possible moves to two clubs in Brazil’s Serie A, though NYCFC are reportedly asking for a hefty transfer fee to part with their little-used Designated Player.

Road stretch continues

The brutal July road stretch will continue for New York City, who will be looking to right their wrongs against Chicago Fire next Saturday. Chicago have lingered around the bottom of the Eastern Conference all season but have won three of their last five matches.

NYCFC's match at Soldier Field still won't be easy. They will need to repair their backline fully healthy if they hope to grab points against a team they have historically dominated, winning 11 of the 20 meetings.

New York City FC’s Hot Goal Summer
New York City FC have just 7 goals as the away team this year — and are about to head out on an extended road trip for the 6th time in club history.
• Austin, Jon Gallagher, yellow card, foul 45+4′

• Referee: Timothy Ford
• Assistant referees: Adam Wienckowski, Felisha Mariscal
• Fourth official: Thomas Snyder
• VAR: Carol Anne Chenard
• Assistant VAR: Peter Balciunas