Austin FC is getting closer to finalizing its roster and starting its season. Today, Austin FC gets a chance to pick from some of the best talent that Major League Soccer has to offer in the Expansion Draft. It also gives fans who are new to MLS a chance to sink their teeth into new players and teams that they may not be familiar with.
The MSL Expansion Draft, where new teams get to choose players with MLS experience, will take place at 5 p.m. Tuesday, and will be broadcasted on AustinFC.com and MLSsoccer.com, as well as on Austin FC's social media platforms.
Bookmark this one! You can watch today's Expansion Draft right here on Twitter. https://t.co/3mzIgeZGZY— Austin FC (@Austin FC)1608042601.0
The five-round draft will see Austin FC select up to five players from the eligible pool of players, claiming only a single player from any one club. There will be no time outs or trades with each pick taking only three minutes for a very fast-paced process.
Between 12 teams, there are 161 players in the pool. Clubs were able to protect up to 12 players from their current roster, either from their senior, supplemental or reserve rosters—the rest are fair picks for Austin FC.
Can't decide which goalkeeper I want for #AustinFC...— Ryan Riggins (@Ryan Riggins)1607975453.0
Some players that stand out include DC United's Frederic Brillant, New York Red Bulls' Amro Tarek, Orlando City SC's Brian Rowe and Montreal Impact's Maxi Urruti, all of who would help Austin FC immediately compete in the MLS this coming season.
You miss 100% of the shots you do not take - Wayne Gretzky -Frédéric Brillant https://t.co/RvMfHCR4Hc— Total MLS (@Total MLS)1504997325.0
Brillant, while older than the rest at 35, would add size and a veteran presence in the locker room. The French defender's five seasons in the MLS and 122 starts would give fans reassurance on that side of the pitch and would be a good building block to the team.
AMRO TAREK M A Z I N G 1-0 #RBNYvLA | #RBNY https://t.co/Ynei7nl1oq— Red Bull New York (@Red Bull New York)1556994500.0
Amro Tarek is a younger and more versatile defender, who has not played as many games in the MLS. Austin FC would be his fourth team in five years, but FC could use Tarek as either a leftback or center, depending on what Manager Josh Wolff wants to do.
How good was this from Brian Rowe last night? 😲 #MINvORL | #VamosOrlando https://t.co/MyeKakwHjF— Orlando City SC (@Orlando City SC)1566164572.0
American Brian Rowe is almost a no-brainer for Austin FC to add. Rowe is a 23-year-old goalkeeper that worked his way into a starting role with LA Galaxy before moving to Orlando City where he had seven shutouts in 32 starts in 2019. Rowe would be a valuable anchor for the Austin FC defense and someone fans could trust in the net.
Take a bow, Maxi Urruti! 🏹 @ThierryHenry gets his first MLS win as head coach of @impactmontreal thanks to this be… https://t.co/qoNze3dqfO— FOX Soccer (@FOX Soccer)1583013916.0
Forward Maxi Urruti from Montreal would add depth to the lineup more than someone who would be an everyday starter. Coming up through the youth system at storied Argentine club Newell's Old Boys, Urruti has pedigree but the 29-year-old has never really found a place to start in the MLS.
If Austin decides to go with Urruti, it would mean that they feel very confident in players they already have on the roster and the development they think they can make with some of the younger players available in free agency after the draft.
There are 11 players on the field at once with 10 outfielders and one goalkeeper. Austin FC already has a roster of seven players, including first recruits, two forwards, 20-year-old Rodney Redes and 26-year-old Cecilio Domínguez.
Austin FC still has to make moves to field a complete team. FC currently has three forwards, three defenders and a midfielder; meaning that the team will most likely target a goalkeeper and more forwards to round out the roster in today's draft.
Austin FC couldn't find the stamina to fight off a 2-0 loss against LAFC for their inaugural match on Saturday.
The match, which saw No. 21 Austin FC go head-to-head with No. 2 LAFC in Los Angeles, was broadcast nationally on FOX and FOX Deportes.
Salute the support. 👏
It's only the beginning for @AustinFC. pic.twitter.com/TduorqYr2y
— Major League Soccer (@MLS) April 18, 2021
Eleven players took the stage as Austin FC players for the first time, with five starters making their MLS debut. "Ringleader" Alex Ring took the captain's armband and wore it well. The defensive midfielder could be seen leading his teammates through their first ever match, but it wasn't enough to stage an Austin takeover in LA.
In the signature style of Head Coach Josh Wolff, the team played with quickness and intensity, nearly connecting on several fast breaks. It was harder for them to stay in front, however, something that Wolff credits with quick decision making and a tough LAFC defense.
"We have a quick attacking team, but I think when you make quick attacks and it fizzles it's just about some decision making," Wolff said. "Are we in position to finish attacks? If not, can we reestablish our attack and get stuff better?"
The club was given some generous breaks from No. 2 LAFC, who had one or both of their star DPs out for the half. While forward Diego Rossi is out for the entire match due to a hamstring injury, Carlos Vela was accidentally pulled too soon on what turned out to be a miscommunication.
"He gave us the sign that he needed to come off," LAFC Head Coach Bob Bradley said on broadcast. "I can't say more than maybe it's my fault."
LA pulled some dramatics and slowly gained more possession throughout the half, but ATXFC's defense wasn't initially as shaky as it seemed in preseason. Jhohan Romana has pulled his weight in getting the ball out of goal, and a 34-year old Matt Besler held his own in center back.
As the second half commenced, however, it became clear that LAFC had the advantage over Austin's first major league team.
Goalkeeper Brad Stuver had his work cut out for him, fending off 24 shot attempts, 11 of which were on goal. He didn't have much time to prepare, either: in the first 30 seconds of play, Stuver had already made a save to keep the match 0-0.
LAFC finally connected in the 61st minute of play as Corey Baird shot one into the bottom right corner. The team capitalized off their momentum and put one past Stuver a second time, drawing roars of approval from the LAFC crowd.
While some last-minute attempts from Jon Gallagher and others were made, Austin FC didn't have the endurance to bring a tie. After seven additional minutes of stoppage time, the club lost their first match 2-0.
While the scoreboard tells one story, Wolff said that the team did well considering the skill of LAFC and the pressure of their club debut.
"We've got to be realistic," Wolff said. "This is the first time this organization has been in front of TV with an opportunity to show itself and I think there were some promising moments. And we're going to maximize those and continue to try to develop those, but there's lots to build on."
The team may have lost, but it still won the support of thousands of Verde fans, dozens of which made it to watch their team's first match. When Stuver and the team made it to bthe stadium, Los Verdes fans were already there to show support, and Stuver said his wife saw the same back in Austin.
"The moment that we pulled into the stadium, we saw Black and Verde fans cheering us on as we got to the stadium," Stuver said. "During warm up, you can just look around and see different groups sitting in different sections of the stadium and it's just truly amazing to see the support in our first game. We know that we want to give the fans everything, because this we play for the city and we play for them."
It's matchday! Austin FC—Austin's first major league sport team—kicks off its debut season in Los Angeles today after years in the making. We know how much this means to our beloved city and are taking you along with us as we journey to LA!
Austin FC writer Claire Partain and I are excited to bring you game-day coverage straight from the City of Angels. Check back here for updates, and visit our socials: @austonianews for the latest.
~7 p.m: Austin FC loses to LAFC
A sad outcome for many, Austin FC was defeated by their competitor. Check out Claire's recap for a full rundown of what this game looked like: https://austonia.com/halftime-austin-fc-debut.
Until next time, Austin!
5 p.m: Kickoff!
It's finally here! Claire will be updating Austonia's Twitter account live. And we'll post her game recap after the game. Best of luck Verdes!
4:40 p.m: Excitement radiates back home
Watch parties are in plenty supply back home. Austonia's Laura Figi visited Circle Brewing Co. and found a crowd of excited supporters.
4:20 p.m: Austin FC supporters are in the stadium
Although the Banc of California Stadium is hosting the match at limited capacity, we see some green in the stands ahead of kickoff. Just moments away from the Austin FC's debut!
~3:20 p.m: Austin FC's team bus enters the stadium grounds
With a warm welcome from Los Verdes, Austin FC players were welcomed into the Banc of California Stadium.
~1 p.m: Los Verdes in LA
(Rigo Rodriguez/Los Verdes)
Austin FC supporters are making their presence known in LA, including the Los Verdes group.
Los Verdes members started having match-day fun around the area this morning with brunch. We'll be joining them about an hour before the game outside the stadium to share some of their excitement. We'll post immediately to Austonia's Instagram.
11:45 a.m: We landed!
View from hotel room where we're staying; the stadium digital sign can be seen in the right corner. (Sonia Garcia/Austonia)
Switching over to pacific time, we're here and it's almost like no time went by. It's 9:45 a.m. here.
We've been in contact with Los Verdes, an Austin FC supporter group, who is also here in LA counting down to kickoff.
8:20 a.m: LA bound
Like many of you, we've been looking forward to this moment for, let's just say, a very long time. Today, we woke up bright and early, headed to Austin-Bergstrom International Airport and hopped on a flight to LA.
A gloomy day in Austin with a very quiet airport, we're headed to sunny skies in California.
As we wait for the game to start at 4:30 p.m., check out Claire's preview of the game with a predicted lineup and timeline of the long journey to get here.