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After years of preparation and eight weeks on the road, Austin FC is finally home.
The club is geared up for its "second start" of the season as they play within the Q2 Stadium walls for the first time and face off against the San Jose Earthquakes at 8 p.m. on Saturday, June 19.
With all of the hype and eight weeks of information to catch up on, it's easy to feel overwhelmed by what to know as the club plays on Austin soil for the first time. Austonia's got you covered with an all-day gameday itinerary that touches on everything from parking to food at Q2 ahead of the long-awaited first match.
8 a.m: What to know before you go
While 8 a.m. may seem like an excessively early start, there's no such thing as too early to be excited for the home opener in this made-up scenario.
First of all, if you're trying to watch the game live at Q2 Stadium, you'll have to scour the sites of ticket resellers like SeatGeek or VividSeats at up charged prices. Tickets sold out on the Austin FC site almost instantly when they dropped last month. (But don't worry, we have watch party info if you didn't snag tickets.)
If you have tickets, you'll want to keep three things in mind as you plan your day:
- Q2 Stadium does not allow bags into the premises unless they are smaller than the size of your hand or medical or childcare bags. Pack light and pack accordingly.
- Q2 is a cashless stadium. Bring your card and download the Austin FC & Q2 Stadium app to streamline your ticketing and concession stand process.
- Plan to leave early, and figure out whether you plan on parking or using public transportation or rideshare ahead of time. We'll get to parking details later.
11 a.m: Scout out watch parties for pregame action
Austin FC has two main supporters' groups within the city: Austin Anthem, which is the longest-running club that hosted a 1,000+ member watch party for the club's season opener, and Los Verdes, a lively crew that features fan band La Murga de Austin.
Austin Anthem is hosting a watch party at their headquarters, Circle Brewing, which is located just down the street from Q2 Stadium at 2340 W Braker Ln. Starting at 11 a.m., the watch party comes with food trucks, live music and more for the whole family.
Meanwhile, Los Verdes will be at the neighboring Hopsquad Brewing for more food, music and the club's newest beer, Los Verdes Pale Ale.
Austin FC has also announced its official watch party at Plucker's Linc on 6406 North I-35 starting at 7 p.m. on matchday. The watch party will include food, drinks, prize giveaways and a live DJ as Austin welcomes their first home team.
Three nearby breweries, including Circle Brewing, Hopsquad and Celis Brewing, are within half a mile of the stadium, so viewers will be able to hear the roar from Q2 as they host watch parties of their own.
For those looking to celebrate at your neighborhood bar across the city, check out Austin FC's 30+ member Pub Club. The club's pub partners have hosted smaller viewing parties for every match of their existence so far, and they should bring bigger crowds come home opener time.
5:15 p.m.: Austin FC supporters' march
Supporters' groups have already marched on Denver and Nashville, and they're doing the same in Austin just before the opening match. Four organizations- La Murga de Austin, Austin Anthem, Oak Army New Braunfels and Los Verdes- have teamed up on the march. Meet just across the street from Hopsquad and Circle Brewing, the two hubs for watch parties, before making your way to welcome the team bus along Calle Norte.
6 p.m: Parking and transportation
Austin FC offers on-site parking to season ticket holders, while other fans can use Cap Metro or offsite parking to get to the first home match. (Austin FC)
Cap Metro has already tested the waters for bringing Austin FC fans to and from matches after a season ticket watch party at Q2 last weekend, and they're geared up for more frequent services at their Kramer Lane stop about a half mile from the stadium.
You can access the bus via the four routes with increased frequency near the stadium or find a Park & Ride stop to get to Q2 without the hassle of parking. For more tips on using Cap Metro, click here, and visit here for a complete gameday schedule.
The club has also mapped out walking and biking routes and a drop-off point for those coming in via limousine or rideshare apps.
For those parking at Q2 Stadium, the club recommends making parking plans before getting to the site. Austin FC has laid out three lots for those with special access.
- East lot via Aguilar Street: For season ticket holders with four or more tickets located in the Captain Morgan Club and Captain Morgan Club East Loges
- North lot via Burnet Road and Bright Verde Way: For season ticket members with four or more tickets located in the Lexus Club and Lexus Club West Loges
- Southwest lot via McKalla Place off Rutland Drive: For Suite Holders and Season Ticket Members with four or more tickets
Season ticket holders get an automatic parking pass with their purchase, and all other ticket holders should visit Pavemint to purchase offsite parking prior to getting to Q2 Stadium. Austin Police and Traffic members will screen those with special access prior to entry.
For more maps and parking information, click here.
7 p.m: You're in! Beer hall, food and in-stadium information
Austin FC's Verde Queso was a competition winner for a reason, and it'll be featured at the stadium's iconic Queso Fountain. (Claire Partain/Austonia)
Once at the stadium, hopefully you'll have time to take in the sights, sounds and smells before the match.
Here's a few things to expect, from local food to craft beers on tap:
- The facility- Austin FC didn't skimp out on Verde & Black furnishings, and they prepped well for the sweltering Texas heat. Some of the stadium's 20,500 seats are made of breathable mesh to help with the summer warmth, and the entire stadium was built to trap a cool breeze that blows throughout the facility. Enter through one of four gates and witness plenty of local art and Austin FC sculptures.
- The Austin FC Beer Hall- will open its doors four hours before kickoff and will stay open about an hour and a half after, Austin FC President Andy Loughnane said. It'll feature 16 beers on tap, including an assortment of local craft beers. The stadium will also have two Michelob Ultra bars near the Northeast Gate and on the 300 level near the Premium Terrace and will host a Bulleit Bar on the Porch.
- Beverages- The stadium will be dotted with alcoholic offerings from Diageo North America, which includes Captain Morgan, Bulleit Whiskey, Ketel One, Don Julio and Crown Royal, as well as Anheuser Busch, Heineken, Dos Equis and Austin Eastciders. Non-alcoholic options include Coca-Cola Products, C4 Energy and Waterloo Sparkling Water.
- Local Eats- We could go on all day about the food offerings at Q2 Stadium—and we did. From Valentina's Tex-Mex BBQ to T'Loc's Sonoran Hot Dogs, Austin FC worked to represent Austin by partnering with 512 Food Co. and loading the stadium up with as many local eats as possible. For a complete list of food options, including the iconic Queso Fountain, click here, and check out Austonia's food reviews of a few of the snacks that will be available come gameday.
- The Verde Store- Still not stocked up on Verde merch? The club's multi-story Verde Store can help. Located on the north side of the stadium, the store is packed with more Austin FC merchandise than anywhere else. Austin FC said that gameday hours will vary, but regular hours are from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. every day.
- The supporter's section- The South Side of Q2 Stadium is dedicated to its most loyal supporters. Thousands of Los Verdes and Austin Anthem members who have been waiting since 2017 will finally get their moment, and they won't skimp out on noise. La Murga de Austin, the club's fan band, will provide drum beats, brass numbers and chants throughout the match, and the stadium is designed specifically to amplify their sound. The supporter's section bleachers are adorned with giant ATX letters, and supporters are decorating their end with a giant tifo, or community banner, to commemorate the moment. Click here for five chants you should know before heading to the match.
8 p.m: What to know before the whistle blows
For those who haven't quite stayed up to date, here's a summary of the club's first eight weeks on the road as you prepare for some pre-match banter.
The club has racked up eight points in eight games toward their standings, putting them at ninth in Western Conference out of 13. That's not too shabby, according to Head Coach Josh Wolff, especially after a road stretch that saw multiple injuries and one and half games without Captain Alex Ring playing when he got a red card.
After a 2-0 loss to LAFC, Austin saw their breakout win against the Colorado Rapids with a 3-1 victory. It was midfielder Diego Fagundez who got in the first goal for the club, and he celebrated by throwing up an "LV" in honor of Los Verdes. Fagundez scored once again the following week against Minnesota and has solidified a starting spot in the midfield.
Cecilio Dominguez was the other breakout star in the Colorado match, scoring two goals back-to-back in a span of just 10 minutes to clinch the game. Dominguez is one of two Designated Players for the club, and he's recently been the striker at the front of Austin FC's lineup. Most recently, Dominguez broke a three-match scoring drought as he helped the club to a draw against Kansas City on June 12.
After beating Colorado, Austin FC went on to a 1-0 victory in Minnesota before crumbling in Kansas City and losing 2-1 to Wolff's former team. The club struggled to find its footing afterward and suffered several injuries, but they still scraped up a few draws to close out the grueling road stretch.
Now, Austin is upbeat from two draws against very good West Conference teams but has just 17 healthy players on its roster heading into the home opener.
Here's a projected starting lineup for the club:
Other players to know include Captain Alex Ring, who leads the midfield, and goalkeeper Brad Stuver, who has wowed crowds with his highlight-worthy saves week after week.
We're just as excited as you are to see the city's first professional team come to Austin, and we'll keep you updated on all things Austin FC as the club warms up for their first home match. Stay tuned on Austonia's Austin FC page and @austonianews on Twitter for live updates for Saturday's match.
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Flashing back to early-pandemic times, hospitals are once again at critical capacity and pleading with residents to do what couldn't be done during the first wave: get vaccinated.
ICU capacity in the 11 county Trauma Service Region of 2.3 million people is fluctuating at 16 staffed beds.
In a statement on behalf of Ascension Seton, Baylor Scott & White Health and St. David's Healthcare, a spokesperson said that hospitals are asking residents to "help us and each other" by getting vaccinated and continuing to utilize safety practices to slow the spread of the virus.
According to the statement, a "longstanding" nurse staffing challenge combined with the recent COVID-19 spike is putting "extraordinary pressure" on hospital systems.
Along with the unmitigated spread of the virus in unvaccinated, the more contagious Delta variant is also to blame for the spike in cases. The seven-day moving average of COVID cases in the Austin area is 47, just three cases away from triggering Stage 5 guidelines. "We cannot emphasize strongly enough the increased transmissibility of the Delta variant," the statement said.
Currently, Austin area hospital systems have 325 people who are hospitalized with COVID-19, 109 in ICUs and 62 on ventilators.
Local hospitals have a "surge plan" that includes utilization of "all available patient care space and employees within our hospitals and in other settings" that will go into effect when capacity is hit, according to the statement.
The hospitals are working on sourcing supplemental staff and emphasized that emergency care will still be available but it may involve patient transfers "in order to provide the most appropriate care."
Healthcare systems have hit this threshold previously during the pandemic: the city held an alternate care site at the Austin Convention Center from January to March of this year.
"Our responsibility during this pandemic continues to be balancing our readiness to care for patients with COVID-19, while making sure patients who depend on our hospitals receive needed and timely care," the statement said. "We do not want to see necessary non-COVID care delayed as it was during the early stages of the pandemic."
Austin is under Stage 4 guidelines, which asks—but cannot enforce under Gov. Greg Abbott's executive order—that vaccinated individuals mask in all situations and unvaccinated individuals mask, while only leaving their homes if essential.
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The 2020(1?) Olympics have induced plenty of late nights and early mornings for millions of Americans as they watch the world's best leap, flip and dive through the 2020 Tokyo Games.
Over two dozen athletes with Austin ties and many more from Texas are making headlines for their contributions to the Games, including 17-year-old gold medal swimmer Lydia Jacoby and legendary softball pitcher Cat Osterman.
So far, Austin athletes have racked up a gold and two silvers for Team USA. Some have more history-making opportunities ahead of them in the Games; others are soon headed home early with no medal but an Olympic title nonetheless. Team USA is in third place overall and has accumulated 40 medals, the second-most behind China, at this year's Games.
We're one week into the Games. Here's a quick look at the biggest headlines in this year's controversial competition and how athletes with Austin ties stacked up.
The Olympics' strangest Games to date? A quick rundown
This year's Games have been an outlier for several reasons. Many athletes have been impacted by COVID, with some saying that the Olympics maybe shouldn't have happened at all.
Millions of fans are getting an insider's view of the Olympics thanks to TikTok. U.S. women's rugby sevens star Ilona Maher helped viewership of her sport spike after her witty videos, including a clip where the team attempts to break the Olympic Village's cardboard beds.
The once-delayed Games have also seen upsets like no other, with many U.S.-dominated sports being championed by the most unlikely of teams.
In gymnastics, Texas native and world-renowned gymnast Simone Biles stepped out of the team competition left the team final and the individual all-around due to what is known as the "twisties," a sort of mind-and-body disconnect that could result in life-threatening injuries. Biles isn't sure if she'll compete in individual events next week, but her team is still doing well without their leader: the U.S. won silver as a team and Suni Lee was the individual gold medal winner.
A condom was used to repair the canoe of world-renowned Australian canoeist Jessica Fox. Meanwhile, a crash put Rio gold medalist Connor Fields in the hospital after a dangerous crash involving six riders on the BMX track.
Things got awkward in a post-swimming press conference when Team USA silver medalist Ryan Murphy and British bronze medalist Luke Greenbank said that the Games are "probably not clean," alluding to Russia's state-sponsored doping campaign that forced them to switch names to the Russian Olympic Committee. ROC competitor Evgeny Rylov was the gold medalist in the event.
Austin athletes have taken a gold and two silvers so far in the Games, with two swimming medals and a silver softball title.
Upcoming UT freshman Lydia Jacoby earned her first gold medal as a 17-year-old in the women's 100m. The Alaska native is the first of her state to win a swimming gold medal, and she completed the feat despite not having an Olympic-size swimming pool to train with.
Longhorn Erica Sullivan made it to the podium as well with a silver medal in the women's 1500m freestyle, finishing just behind U.S. star Katie Ledecky.
Legendary UT alum Cat Osterman's decorated Olympic run is up. The 38-year-old lefthanded pitcher left her final Olympics with a bittersweet silver medal after home team Japan secured the gold in the women's softball final. The loss was the first time the two had seen each other since Japan first took the gold from Team USA in 2008, the last time softball had been in the Olympics. Osterman's next move is off the pitcher's mound; the current assistant coach at Texas State University hopes to work for a nonprofit in Austin after she officially retires on September 27.
Those who went home
While every Olympian wants to go home with that precious metal, even making it to the world's biggest competition is a feat on its own. Here are the Austin athletes who didn't quite make it to the podium:
- Longhorn swimmer Townley Haas was 5th in the semifinals of the men's 200m freestyle and did not advance.
- Despite being medal favorites, Longhorn Gia Doonan and her women's eights crew just missed the mark with a fourth place finish in Tokyo after many members recovered from COVID.
- Austinite Alison Gibson and partner Krysta Parmer finished eighth in the women's 3m synchronized diving competition.
- Haas and fellow UT alum Drew Kibler helped Team USA to a fourth-place finish in the men's 4x200m swimming freestyle.
- Caspar Corbeau, a Longhorn swimming for the Netherlands, finished 7th in his opening heat for the men's 100m and 200m swimming freestyle.
- Remedy Rule, a Longhorn swimming for the Philippines, finished eighth in the semifinal for the women's 200m butterfly.
- Anna Elendt, a UT swimmer competing for Team Germany, finished 7th in the semifinals of the women's 100m freestyle and was sixth in the prelims as part of the 4x100 medley relay.
What's to come
Sugar Land native and standout Simone Manuel helped Team USA to set a single-day record for medals won on Sunday with a bronze in the 4x100 freestyle relay. Fellow Team USA star Caeleb Dressel established his dominance with a first-place finish in the men's 100-meter freestyle on Thursday and set an Olympic record in the prelims of the 100m butterfly after helping the men's 4x100m freestyle earlier in the week.
Coming up, former Longhorn Joseph Schooling, who beat Michael Phelps in the Rio Olympics, will compete in the men's 100m butterfly final alongside Dressel on Saturday.
Hailey Hernandez, a Texan diver who is coming to UT in the fall, was the youngest competitor to advance to the semifinal round of the women's 3m springboard competition early Saturday morning.
Track and field
UT alum Teahna Daniels has advanced to the women's 100m semifinals alongside teammates Javianne Oliver and Jenna Prandini after a heat-winning time of 11.04 seconds. Daniels and crew will look to establish themselves as the world's fastest women in the semifinals at 6:15 a.m. followed by the finals at 8:50 a.m.
The women's 100m trio were some of the first to hit the track on Thursday. Team USA DQ'd in the 4x400m mixed race on Thursday, squandering veteran Alyson Felix's quest for another medal. Ethiopia and Uganda are the only current medal-winners for the sport, but UT alum Melissa Gonzalez will look to change that on Saturday morning as she competes in the women's 400m hurdles. Fellow Longhorn Pedra Seymour will begin her fight to beat her 6th place finish in Rio as she runs in the prelims for the women's 100m hurdles for Team Bahamas on Saturday, while men's long jumper Steffin McCarter will look to qualify in the men's long jump competition that afternoon.
The world's fastest men will begin competition Saturday morning as well, with Team USA's Trayvon Bromell as the favorite to get the gold.
Other UT track stars including world-record shot putter Ryan Crouser (Thursday), Team Jamaica 4x400m runner Stacey-Ann Williams (Thursday), and long jumper Tara Davis (Sunday) will hit the track next week.
Win or go home AND WE’RE NOT GOING HOME YET 😤 pic.twitter.com/qdK7Aa7c4s— U.S. Soccer WNT (@USWNT) July 30, 2021
Team USA advanced to the semifinals in penalty kicks in an adrenaline-pumping match early Friday morning. Next, they'll play Canada in the semifinals to compete for that top spot and avenge their loss in Rio as they fight for the finals. On Team Canada's Olympic team is UT midfielder Julia Grosso, who has helped her team to a win and three draws thus far.
Kevin Durant and team have had a rocky start to the Olympics, leaving many to wonder if their No. 1 status is in jeopardy. The team suffered their first Olympic loss since 2004 in a 83-76 upset against France. They bounced back with an easy win against Iran, though the win was expected against a team with no NBA players in their roster. Next up is the Czech Republic, a team with two NBA talents that the U.S. is expecting to smother at 8:30 a.m. Saturday.
The USA Women's basketball team picks up their first W 🚨— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) July 27, 2021
USA takes down Nigeria, 81-72
A'ja Wilson (Olympic debut): 19 PTS | 13 REB pic.twitter.com/cRwnEgAzhn
The U.S. women's basketball team, including UT alum Ariel Atkins, have shakily continued their world dominance in Tokyo. The team is 2-0 in Group B after an 81-72 defeat over Nigeria and 86-69 victory over Japan. Atkins celebrated her birthday on the same day as the Japan defeat.
Next up, the team will look to increase their winning margins as they take on France at 12:40 a.m. on Monday.
Longhorn middle blocker Chiaka Ogbogu and the Team USA volleyball team are fighting hard for their first gold medal in 57 years. The team has already swept defending gold medalists China and was undefeated in group play with wins over Argentina and Turkey as they head to the quarterfinals starting Wednesday, They'll look to defeat the ROC and Italy in their final group rounds along the way.
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