AUSTIN, Texas — The consequence by no means actually mattered.
Austin FC’s inaugural match Saturday at Q2 Stadium, a scoreless draw towards the San Jose Earthquakes, was about extra than simply soccer. Certain, a purpose and a win would’ve made the expertise that a lot better, however the 20,738 followers that packed the stadium had been there for the second.
It was concerning the spectacle, the largest get together in Texas revolving round a Main League Soccer sport. Coach Josh Wolff mentioned he realized rather a lot about his squad’s toughness in incomes eight factors from eight highway video games to begin the season. Followers adopted Austin FC in every single place from Los Angeles to Kansas Metropolis these first two months. On Saturday, they lastly obtained to look at them at house.
“Hopefully we will embrace the custom and different groups can observe us on that. We need to be the perfect,” mentioned Fibrik, who performs drums for La Murga de Austin the supporters’ part band. “We’ve been making ready for over three years for this s***. We’re able to go.”
Austin certainly was.
The gates opened three hours previous to kickoff as followers had been capable of settle in early and luxuriate in indoor facilities just like the Captain Morgan Membership, beer corridor and extra. The drums echoed by way of the nice and cozy Texas air whereas inexperienced and black flags waved from the three,500-seat, standing-only south part of Q2 Stadium. “Minister of Tradition” Matthew McConaughey appeared in an all inexperienced go well with, banging on drums earlier than the motion obtained began. The tifo that was unveiled included native legends like McConaughey, Willie Nelson, Stevie Ray Vaughan and extra.
“To be sincere it was superb. I bear in mind after I stepped out proper earlier than the sport began, I obtained the chills. It was one thing particular,” mentioned Austin FC’s Diego Fagundez. “I do know [the fans] have been working so laborious for it. I do know the entire staff was prepared for it and it is sort of unhappy that we’re leaving with a tie.
“That is only the start. We will make this a fortress. We will make this a spot the place no needs to play.”
Q2 Stadium is the most recent shiny toy in MLS, and one member of the Austin FC entrance workplace mentioned the waitlist for season tickets is now as much as 23,000.
“Pleasure in Austin is a factor, now we’ve got a sports activities staff, a soccer staff, the perfect sport on the planet to have fun,” mentioned season ticket-holder Paul Casey. “As soon as the vibe grows, extra folks get into it and so they start to grasp what it means to help your metropolis by way of a sports activities staff, I believe much more folks will come out right here. I believe we’ll be bought out for all times.”
For concerning the first 10 minutes after the preliminary whistle Saturday, just about no person within the crowd sat down. The quantity raised any time the blokes in Verde did something.
“Born and raised in Austin, waited 46 years to have knowledgeable staff. Right here we’re child, it’s our time,” mentioned Kacey Cummings, who rocked a inexperienced wig and banged drums together with La Murga. “Austin has an vitality like no different metropolis on this nation. Now you set knowledgeable staff with the vitality that futbol brings, it simply takes it to the following stage.”
That does not imply there will not be obstacles. Wolff and his staff know they should begin racking up wins, particularly at house, for this inaugural season to be successful. The dearth of ending high quality within the closing third will proceed to linger as a sore spot till it is addressed. All of it comes with the territory as a first-year franchise.
When McConaughey made his media rounds forward of Austin FC’s first sport again in April, he mentioned this staff isn’t going to be a fad. From followers to sponsors to the entrance workplace, the thought is to enlarge the perfect of Austin on the primary stage.
“It was a spectacle of soccer,” mentioned Quakes head coach Matias Almeyda. “I loved seeing it and being a part of it. I preferred the stadium and the way the followers supported their staff. It was a day of soccer pleasure. Lengthy stay that soccer.”
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