One could say that the hero of Austin FC's 3-2 comeback win wasn't one of the team's three goalscorers. Instead, the hundreds of fans who flew from Austin to D.C. for their team found an unlikely martyr in an inflatable rubber chicken.
Dressed in his own Austin FC jersey and painted in the team's signature Verde hue, "Pollo FC" has been seen swinging above the Austin FC supporters' section since last season. But it wasn't until he was confiscated, and later freed, by D.C. United security shortly before a three-goal Austin FC comeback that his name became synonymous with sweet Verde victories.
Since his mouth is stuck in a permanent "O," Pollo's thoughts were interpreted through Trevor Blow as he took a break from the crowd at the San Antonio FC match to talk about the origins of the club's favorite chicken.
Pollo FC can be seen alongside his keeper, Trevor Blow, at just about every Austin FC game. (Austin FC/Twitter)
"It started as just a drunk idea...I thought it would be around for like a day or two, but people kept loving it," Blow said. "It really just drew the best, childlike nature out of people."
Easier to spot than Bigfoot (feet?) or the Loch Ness Monster, but often just as mystical, Austin FC "cryptids" like Pollo FC are multiplying in the Austin stands with that same agenda in mind.
Drawing from a cryptid of wintry legend, Austin FC's "Meh Teh," which is another word for Yeti, isn't sure if he'll hibernate for the sweltering Texas summer since this "isn't the natural environment for a Yeti." But the man behind the furry mask but had a more straightforward answer for his motives.
Austin FC's "Mei Tei" is far from his wintry home but still shows up to each Austin FC match. (Claire Partain/Austonia)
"I love the game, I love the team," "Figured I'd show up in a Yeti suit."
Like Mei Tai, fellow Austin FC cryptid Verdiloko dons his Verde and Black mask (and cape) each week for more than just himself.
"I'm not just Verdiloko, I'm a voice," Verdiloko said. "I'm the voice of every single fan in the stadium, the voice of passion and love for the team."
Austin FC's Verdiloko is a self-proclaimed voice for the team's fans. (Claire Partain/Austonia)
Aside from embodying the team's jersey sponsor YETI, Meh Teh has found a purpose in posing for pictures with young Verde supporters.
"It's fun for other fans, it's fun for little kids," Meh Teh said. "That's what it's all about."
Each cryptid has also gained a presence on social media. Ever the philanthropist, El Pollo has used that newfound fame to do more than change the results of Austin FC games; all proceeds for his stickers and merch go to local animal shelter Austin Pets Alive!
"There was a significant momentum change as soon as he got freed," Blow said. "He's become legend."
Show your love for Tito's and for the community this year with a wide selection of not that ugly, uglyish, ugly, uglier, and ugliest holiday sweaters.
There's lots choose from, and plenty of accessories like scarves and socks, plus gear for your dog, too.
All of the items can be purchased online or at the Love, Tito’s Retail Store in Austin, TX. 100% of all net proceeds from online or in-store purchases go to one of the nonprofits we’ve teamed up with.
🗓 All weekend
Check out this highly anticipated art exhibition with illuminated art along Waller Creek. Tickets are free and the event includes food vendors, dazzling lights, live music, and hands-on activities
All weekend 6 p.m - 10 p.m | 📍Waterloo Park
This iconic holiday tradition lights up for the first time this holiday season starting this weekend! Reserve your spot for an enchanting light and sound performance, delicious hot cocoa, sweet treats, and some overall fun with your friends or family. The show runs till January 6th.
6 p.m and 9 p.m | 📍Mozart's Coffee Roasters - 3825 Lake Austin Blvd, Austin, TX 78703
This fitness event is free and open to the public. Get your morning started right with a "Fitness in the park" class for kickboxing! The class will be led by certified instructors and is a great way to get a cardio workout in while also honing your self-defense skills.
10 a.m - 11 a.m | 📍 Metz Park
Support local LBGTQ+ and female artists at this outdoor market with over 150 vendors. Get your holiday shopping out of the way at this event, with vendors for food trucks, handmade goods, raffles, hands on workshops and activities, and more.
Did someone say cheese?! If you're like me and always willing to get your hands on a bowl of mac and cheese, then this event is for you. Check out the Mac and Cheese festival happening this weekend to decide which vendor has. the best mac and cheese for yourself, and enjoy the bar with creative cocktails while you're at it. Tickets start at $45.
11 a.m - 3 p.m | 📍Lantana Place - 7415 Southwest Parkway