AUSTIN, Texas – Austin Bold FC moved into second place in the Group D standings as it scored four second-half goals to pull away from Sporting Kansas City II on Tuesday night at Bold Stadium. With the win, Austin took a two-point lead on FC Tulsa for the second playoff spot in the group, with Tulsa having played one game fewer.
Having previously defeated OKC Energy FC and FC Tulsa in its interdivision matchups, Sporting went close to taking an early lead when a corner kick from the right by Dillon Serna found Mason Leeth for a header that went just wide of the left post. Austin’s first good look at goal came in the 16th minute, meanwhile, but Billy Forbes misjudged the timing on his header off Ish Jome’s cross from the left and sent his finish well off target.
The hosts began to threaten more as the half went on and Ema Twumasi curled a shot from the top-left edge of the penalty area just wide of the right post in the 34th minute. Five minutes later, Sean McFarlane also had a rip from the right side of the area only to see his finish fly just past the far post.
Austin struck 12 minutes into the second half, however, as Baez produced his fourth goal of the season. A quick throw-in from the left found Forbes with a chance to turn and go at a defender inside the penalty area and deliver a low ball to Baez to his right that the playmaker controlled and then sent into the bottom-left corner of the net.
Four minutes later the hosts made it two as Baez delivered an in-swinging corner from the left. SKC II goalkeeper Remi Prieur was unable to handle cleanly, and the ball deflected off defender Jahon Rad and into the net for an own goal.
SKC II almost pulled a goal back in the 71st minute as Wilson Harris tried to negotiate a window to shoot at the top-right edge of the penalty area only for his curling finish to the far corner to sail over the crossbar. But two minutes later Austin had its third as substitute Alasanne Ates Diouf was in the right place to clean up after an initial shot by Twumasi had been blocked, giving Diouf his fourth goal of the campaign.
Sporting once again threatened with nine minutes to go as Fredlin Mompremier cut in from the right edge of the penalty area and sent a curling finish to the far post that hit the crossbar and caromed away to safety. Bold FC tacked on a fourth in second-half stoppage time, however, as a slide-rule pass by McFarlane played in Aldo Quintanilla for a cool finish to the left corner and a big victory for the hosts.
USLChampionship.com Man of the Match
Xavier Baez, Austin Bold FC – Baez provided the breakthrough for the hosts and was solid otherwise, delivering the cross that led to Bold FC’s second goal while completing 28 of 37 passes overall.