Austin FC’s home debut about more than earnings
AUSTIN, Texas – The outcome never really mattered.
Austin FC’s opening game at Q2 Stadium on Saturday, a goalless draw with the San Jose Earthquakes, was about more than just football. Sure, a goal and a win would have made the experience a lot better, but the 20,738 fans that filled the stadium were there for the moment.
It was about the spectacle, the biggest party in Texas around a game of Major League Soccer. Coach Josh Wolff said he learned a lot about the toughness of his squad as he picked up eight points from eight away games earlier in the season. Fans followed Austin FC from Los Angeles to Kansas City for the first two months. On Saturday they were finally allowed to watch her at home.
“Hopefully we can pick up the tradition and other teams can follow us in it. We want to be the best,” said Fibrik, who plays drums for the La Murga de Austin fan band. “We’ve been preparing for this shit for over three years. We’re ready to go.”
Austin actually was.
The drums echoed through the warm Texan air as green and black flags waved from the 3,500-seat south section of the Q2 Stadium. “Minister of Culture” Matthew McConaughey appeared in an all-green suit, pounding drums before the action began. The Tifo revealed included local legends like McConaughey, Willie Nelson, Stevie Ray Vaughan, and more.
“To be honest, it was amazing. I remember getting out just before the game started and I got goosebumps. It was special,” said Austin FC’s Diego Fagundez. “I know [the fans] worked so hard for it. I know the whole team was prepared for it and it’s kind of sad that we go with a draw.
“This is just the beginning. We’re going to make a fortress here. We’re going to make a place here where nobody wants to play.”
The Q2 stadium is the newest shiny toy in MLS, and a member of the Austin FC front office said the season ticket waiting list is now up to 23,000.
“Pride in Austin is one thing, now we have a sports team, a soccer team, the best sport in the world to celebrate,” said season ticket holder Paul Casey. “As soon as the mood grows, more people get in and they understand what it means to support your city through a sports team, I think more people will come here. I think we will be sold out for life. “
For about the first 10 minutes after the first whistle on Saturday, almost no one sat down in the crowd. The volume was turned up every time the guys came in Verde done it all.
“Born and raised in Austin, waited 46 years to have a professional team. Here we are baby, it’s our time,” said Kacey Cummings, who rocked a green wig and hit the drums with La Murga. “Austin has an energy like no other city in this country. Now, put together a professional team with the energy that futbol brings it, it just takes it to the next level. “
That is not to say that there will be no obstacles. Wolff and his team know that they have to win, especially at home, for this first season to be a success. The lack of finishing quality in the final third will continue to be a sore point until it is addressed. It all comes with the Territory as a franchise in the first year.
When McConaughey did his media rounds ahead of Austin FC’s first game in April, he said this team won’t be a fad. From fans to sponsors to the front office, the idea is to showcase the best of Austin on the main stage.
“It was a football spectacle,” said Quakes head coach Matias Almeyda. “I enjoyed seeing it and being a part of it. I liked the stadium and the way the fans supported their team. It was a day full of football joy. Long live this football.”
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