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Minnesota United coach Adrian Heath observed his suspension seated in a narrow coach's booth Saturday.

Well, sort of.

He had a seat but spent most of his time standing postured over a built-in desk as technical director Mark Watson sat instead, all while being subjected to their team's paradoxical first-half performance.

It appeared as merely a matter of time until the Loons found the first goal in a match that Austin FC won 4-1 at Allianz Field, after the visitors led 2-0 at halftime despite tremendous pressure applied by Bongo­kuhle Hlongwane, Mender García and Emanuel Reynoso.

"You get a better idea from up there in terms of the spacing of the team," Heath said. "And at times, I thought some of our play was really good in the first half. But we have to take them opportunities when they arise. It seems that I have said that an awful lot of late, but they do — changes games."

That trio generated countless opportunities within the first 30 minutes for the Loons (6-8-6).

And somehow, a majority of the night's goals included the two that Austin captain Sebastián Driussi netted following Diego Fagundez's opening score in the 35th minute — not to mention Emiliano Rigoni's goal in extra time, which gave Austin its season-high fourth goal for a single match.

The Loons, who fell to 12th out of 14 teams in the Western Conference when LA Galaxy won later Saturday, salvaged a late 85th-minute score off the head of Devin Padelford, who subbed in alongside Teemu Pukki and Ismael Tajouri-Shradi and scored his first MLS goal, but it was all but irrelevant by then — similar to their early surge of aggression. Pukki became a threat to score on a handful of occasions soon after he subbed in, though his first goal in a Loons uniform will have to wait.

"Pukki had the two or three little runs in behind, great little angled runs that we'll have to work with him to make sure that we're aware of that's where he wants to run," Heath said. "And Tajouri was really good on the ball."

It didn't matter that Reynoso had set up a number of runs for García, Hlongwane and midfielder Joseph Rosales upon Rosales' return from international duty. It didn't matter that García was inches away from sneaking a goal past the left foot of goalkeeper Brad Stuver. And it didn't matter that Hlongwane had a shot saved off the top post and another not long after that sailed wide left.

Because Austin had weathered the storm.

"It's disappointing," Loons captain Wil Trapp said. "We came out with a game plan I thought was effective. I thought our defensive shape was good at the start of the game, went and won a lot of balls in midfield and transition balls. It's just there are moments where four, five, six chances we had that we were hoping to get something out of it. We obviously didn't."

After Fagundez's goal, Driussi converted a controversial penalty kick that seemed to spark disbelief in many Loons players and fans.

"Suddenly, you find yourself 2-nil down and you probably should have been leading," Heath said. "Well, then it changes. It changes the whole momentum of the game. … I just thought that we didn't help ourselves in really important moments in the game."

Bakaye Dibassy, who started for the first time in 315 days in place of the suspended Michael Boxall, was called for the foul in question on a slide tackle against Jon Gallagher, a tackle that looked to make quite a bit of contact with the ball before Gallagher fell in the box.

Approximately three minutes ticked off the game clock between when the penalty kick was awarded and when Driussi actually took it. Initially, it didn't look like the video assistant review (VAR) was either in play or had uncovered any reversible evidence, given that referee Alex Chilowicz remained on the pitch without reviewing any replays himself.

"The call on the field was not deemed to be a clear and obvious error by the VAR," according to a comment provided by the Professional Referee Organization (PRO) as part of a pool report.