Austin, TX (June 15, 2019) Austin Bold FC drew Tacoma Defiance 1-1 at Bold Stadium in Austin, TX on Saturday night. A first half goal from Tacoma's leading goal scorer Justin Dhillon in the 37' gave the visiting side the lead going into the half. The Bold found an equalizer in the 61' through an outside the box Kleber strike. A late red card for Tacoma midfielder Azriel Gonzalez in the 88' reduced the Pacific Northwest club to 10 men, but Austin couldn't find a game-winner in the final minutes. Both sides left Bold Stadium with a point apiece.
Saturday was Down Syndrome Awareness Night. In partnership with Down Syndrome Association of Central Texas, The Bold hosted soccer camps for individuals with Down Syndrome and rounded concession sales up to the nearest dollar and donated the difference.
The Bold had a slight edge in possession in the first half with 55.8%, but it was the visiting side that capitalized on their chances with three shots on target compared to Austin's one. Tacoma almost got on the board in the 22' through a Gonzalez long-range effort that banged off the crossbar.
Dhillon broke the deadlock in the 37' from a set piece header. Joel Rydstrand's corner kick found the striker as he peeled off his mark to redirect the ball past Bold goalkeeper Diego Restrepo.
The home side responded well with an aggressive second half. The Bold had 67.8% possession with six total shots. The second half saw The Bold debut of Francis Atuahene and Ema Twumasi; both players joined Austin Bold FC on loan from MLS side FC Dallas.
Andre Lima almost equalized for Austin in the 54' with a low hard driving shot to the bottom left corner. Tacoma Defiance goalkeeper Trey Muse palmed away the attempt.
Brazilian striker Kleber drew the match level for Austin Bold FC in the 61'. Defiance defender Aleks Berkolds couldn't properly clear a Lima header. His poor clearance landed to Kleber at the top of the box, who's powerful shot deflected off Berkolds and into the back of the net. A late straight red card for Gonzales gave Austin a man advantage, but the home team couldn't find the winning goal. Both sides ended the night with a point apiece.
After the match, Bold goalkeeper Restrepo spoke of Head Coach Marcelo Serrano's halftime talk that motivated the team to find the equalizer.
"He told us it was time to wake up. That we are not going to win games with the type of performance we had in the first half, it's about putting in the work and executing. We just had to get better, and we did."
Next up, Austin Bold FC take on Rio Grande Valley FC at H-E-B Park on Sunday night (6/23) at 7:30 PM CT. The Bold is back home on Saturday, June 29th at 7:30 PM CT against Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC. Get your tickets here to cheer on The Bold!
TAC: Justin Dhillon (Joel Rydstrand assist 37’)
ABFC: Kleber (61’)
TAC: Yellow Card (Jess Daley 82’)
TAC: Red Card (Azriel Gonzalez 88’)
ABFC: Yellow Card (Xavi Baez 90’)
Austin Bold Starting XI:
GK: Diego Restrepo; D: Sean McFarlane, Amobi Okugo, Jermaine Taylor; Demar Phillips (Josue Soto 67’) M: Valeri Saramutin , Xavi Baez, Sonny Guadarrama (Francis Atuahene 45’); F: Promise Isaac (Ema Twumasi 73’), Kleber, Andre Lima
Substitutions Not Used: Juan David Ramirez, Fabien Garcia, Calum Mallace, Faris Abdi