For a club a little over two years old, Austin FC still experiencing plenty of new things.
Rodney Redes, the first signing in club history, scored his first career goal to help the Verde & Black beat USL Championship side New Mexico United 2-0 Wednesday night in the first-ever Lamar Hunt US Open Cup game at Q2 Stadium.
The moment that got the party started! ???? pic.twitter.com/D5tq5rsjAl— Austin FC (@AustinFC) May 11, 2023
“I thought it was a good example of what we have been building on the last couple of games,” Austin FC head coach Josh Wolff said. “We created a lot of chances and got some goals. I thought it was a pretty dominant performance.”
Redes scored the opening goal in the 24th minute, heading home a corner kick from designated player Emiliano Rigoni.
Austin FC doubled its lead with a beautiful team goal in the 36th minute.
Rigoni took one touch to get past a new Mexico defender and picked out Adam Lundqvist near the left sideline. Lundqvist needed just one pass to find a wide-open striker Maxi Urruti for an easy goal.
“A play like that almost looks like a play from an NFL game,” Lundqvist said. “It’s exactly what we practiced, it’s exactly the moves and it just played out. It really gives you that confidence going forward. It was good to see.”
You love to see it! ???? pic.twitter.com/mMAJO7c9S6— Austin FC (@AustinFC) May 11, 2023
For Urruti, it was his fifth career US Open Cup goal. He scored three of those goals in 2016 with FC Dallas en route to winning the US Open Cup title.
Austin FC dominated nearly every statistical category against New Mexico, including shots (13-9), shots on goal (8-2), corners (5-1) and crosses (18-6).
It all happened without superstar midfielder and MLS MVP finalist Sebastian Driussi, who will be out until at least the end of the month with a groin injury.
“We can win games without Seba, we can score goals without Seba,” Wolff said. “It’s important that our guys see that and feel that and now truly believe that.”
Wolff said earlier in the was going to take this tournament seriously, especially after last year’s embarrassing loss to San Antonio FC in the team’s’ first-ever game in Round 3. Wednesday was the first of seven games over the next three weeks for the Verde & Black, but that didn’t stop him from running out a largely first-choice starting XI.
“Elimination games are never easy,” said Wolff, who won three Open Cup titles as a player with the Chicago Fire (1998, 2000) and Sporting Kansas City (2004) “You’ve got one team in a different league and they’ve got a chip on their shoulder for a variety of reasons. You’ve got to come in ready to play. You take nothing for granted. You’ve got to be hungry and ruthless.”
Perhaps nobody was more hungry and ruthless on Wednesday than Redes.
We hear you, Austin! pic.twitter.com/aKOreDaljL— Austin FC (@AustinFC) May 11, 2023
The Paraguayan midfielder appeared in 25 games with five starts for Austin FC during the inaugural 2021 season, contributing one assist. He struggled to get consistent minutes in 2022, making just 12 MLS appearances with no starts.
He’s had somewhat over a redemption arc over the last three games in Verde & Black, picking up his first assist in more than two years two weeks ago against San Jose before scoring his first goal on Wednesday.
The fans at Q2 recognized his commitment, chanting his name late in the second half.
“Of course I heard it and of course it made me happy,” Redes said. “I thank the fans for the support that they always give me. I’ve always worked hard, and I knew there would come a point that I was going get those minutes, and I’m thankful that now I am.”