Wednesday, November 11, 2015
Austin’s first season in the USL was a mixed bag of sorts. When the Aztex won, their defense was strong – six of the 10 victories being shutouts. When they fell on the short end, it was because Austin’s offense came up empty, with nine of the 15 losses being of the shutout variety.
It will be intriguing to see how the Aztex can build a team that isn’t so sink-or-swim when the club resumes play heading into the 2017 USL season.
2015 USL Season in Review:
Place: 9th in the Western Conference
Goals For: 32
Goals Against: 41
2015 leaders: Trevin Caesar and Kris Tyrpak (9 goals), Mozzi Gyorio and Tony Rocha (3 assists), Cody Laurendi and Devin Perales (49 saves), Perales (5 shutouts)
Greatest moment of 2015: The Aztex posted 10 wins in league play, but perhaps one of their best wins came outside of USL action. Austin defeated the defending NASL champion San Antonio Scorpions 2-0 on May 27 in the third round of the 2015 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup. Austin’s road win was part of a strong performance from the USL contingent, which posted a 7-0 record that night against the NASL sides. Mikey Ambrose and Trevin Caesar scored second-half goals, and for Caesar it was a unique night as he was honored before the match for being part of the Scorpions’ 2014 title-winning team. The Aztex win advanced the club to the fourth round of the U.S. Open Cup as Head Coach Paul Dalglish prepared Austin to face Major League Soccer’s Houston Dynamo – Dalglish’s former MLS club.
Lowest moment of 2015: The Aztex’s second-half woes were the heaviest when they faced the LA Galaxy II on Aug. 15. Austin carried a 2-0 lead through 60 minutes, thanks to first-half tallies from Trevin Caesar – a long-range bomb into the upper left corner – and Fernando Timbo, who converted a penalty kick. Then the wheels fell off for Austin when Los Dos’ Jack McBean cut the deficit to 2-1 with a 61st-minute chip, followed by a Bradley Diallo equalizer in the 88th – a soft header that bounced before the end line and sneaked past the defense. A point still was within Austin’s reach, but the visiting Galaxy II completed their comeback with McBean’s header into the left of the frame in early stoppage time. It was a game that clearly should have gone in Austin’s favor with a lopsided 18-8 shots advantage to force Galaxy goalkeeper Andrew Wolverton into making eight saves.
What went right? Because the Aztex were a PDL side from 2012-14, it is only natural to gravitate toward the success of forward Kris Tyrpak. The club went into its first USL season with six alumni from the PDL’s Aztex, and Tyrpak exemplified the “path to pro” motto. The 23-year-old Austin-area native and 2013 PDL MVP tied with Trevin Caesar to lead the Aztex with nine goals, and Tyrpak added two assists, which tied for third alongside two other players.
What went wrong? For a young squad, there were two elements that stood out in Austin’s season – a subpar road record and second-half struggles. The Aztex tied with three other teams for logging the most road losses (10), and they were outscored 26-13 in the second halves of their respective games. The most telling stat perhaps was that in seven of Austin’s 10 defeats, the Aztex either had a lead or were tied at halftime.
He said it: “Our possession-based, easy-on-the-eyes wide style is on our DNA. That’s what we do. But this style takes a lot longer to implement. It is much more complex than low-risk football, which is direct football. Having so many young players made our job more complicated, but I saw a lot of improvement and consider it a productive year.” – Paul Dalglish, Austin Aztex Head Coach