Turns out patience was not a virtue for Austin FC fans.
After a two-week MLS break, the club still couldn't find its footing in goal as they fell 1-0 to No. 1 Seattle Sounders at Q2 Stadium.
Even as player wounds were patched and Seattle sent the youngest starting lineup in MLS history onto the Verde pitch, Austin's front line couldn't capitalize on their chances given and suffered their fifth scoreless match in six games.
Head coach Josh Wolff said he was feeling a number of emotions, most of which weren't positive, after the match.
"Frustration and disappointment...Seattle's a very good team, regardless of what players they put out there, so it's always going to be a challenge," Wolff said. "More disappointing was just the lack of structure. What we'd worked on the last 5-6 days, that was not on display in the first half."
Seattle put five teenagers on the pitch to start the match, including Obed Vargas, who, at 15, is the third-youngest player in the MLS record books to appear in a match. Meanwhile, Austin saw the return of starters Tomas Pochettino and Captain Alex Ring but were still missing starters Danny Pereira and Nick Lima.
Austin kept a slight advantage over the young Seattle team in the first half, maintaining 74% possession and solid passing game. When Raul Ruidiaz came onto the pitch, however, the tables turned for the home team.
No crystal ball was needed to predict a Ruidiaz goal, but no fortuneteller could've predicted a goal like that. After an Austin FC deflection, Ruidiaz showed off his stellar soccer IQ far behind the box and chipped it over Stuver's head. Ruidiaz is now the top scorer in MLS.
OH MY WORD
RAUL RUIDIAZ SEES THE KEEPER OFF THE LINE AND..... 😱😱😱 pic.twitter.com/J42xDEyZE4
— Major League Soccer (@MLS) July 23, 2021
Austin saw one reach goal for defender Julio Cascante, who dove into goal with his ball after a successful diving header. After a review, however, the goal was disallowed. Ruidiaz appeared to score yet another goal but was called offsides just seconds later.
The near-undefeated Seattle has now lost just one match in their 15-match season as they continue to top the MLS. Meanwhile, Austin's scorelessness could put the club in the hot seat as they continue to struggle to get the ball in the net.
Even with a decent defensive effort thus far this season, Wolff said that not scoring goals just won't cut it.
"From a goal-scoring standpoint...it's been lackluster and poor," Wolff said. "The reality is that we haven't scored goals, and defensively we've been fairly solid, but you've got to score goals to win games... tonight, it wasn't good enough, in any regard."
Here's a look at exactly what happened in Austin's second home loss:
Danny Pereira is one of six Austin FC players still out on injury tonight. (Austin FC/Twitter)
Austin FC has seen some much needed starters make a quick recovery over the break, including winger Jon Gallagher, but they've still got five players out on injury as they face the Sounders.
Here's who's still out of the mix:
- Nick Lima- right back
- Danny Pereira- midfield
- Danny Hoesen- striker
- Ben Sweat- left back
- Aaron Schoenfield- defense
Austin FC starting lineup
For the first time in a long time, Rodney Redes is starting back as right winger after scoring the lone goal against the Tigres last week. He and Kekuta Manneh will flank Cecilio Dominguez at striker.
Pochettino and Captain Alex Ring have once again brought some solidity to midfield. Pochettino edges closer to his first MLS goal every match, while Fagundez completes the trio with a fiery desire to score.
Austin's defense looks much the same, with Hector Jimenez still in at right back for an injured Nick Lima.
Seattle makes history with youngest-ever starting squad
1. Freddy Adu— Seattle Sounders FC (@SoundersFC) July 23, 2021
2. Alphonso Davies
3. Obed Vargas
At 15 years and 351 days, Obed Vargas becomes the third-youngest player in @MLS history to appear in a match. #SoundersMatchday | #ATXvSEA pic.twitter.com/gb73w61XNz
The future of MLS is on the field.
Is this a slap in the face to Austin, a chance to get some young players some experience or just the result of injuries and international call-ups? Either way, Seattle is making history tonight as five teenagers hit the pitch for the first time in a regular season MLS match.
Among the youngest- ever- is Obed Vargas, a 15-year-old mifielder who is the third-youngest player in MLS history to appear in a match. Not far off is Austin FC's Diego Fagundez, who started as a 16-year-old himself.
They're holding up well against Austin, who has held on to possession and found a few very close chances but is once again fumbling in the final third. The Sounders have some of the lowest possession in the league but are also one of the most efficient, scoring second-most in the league per game.
Homegrown Manneh makes the first crack at goal
Winger Kekuta Manneh, the only player with roots in Austin, pulls an optical illusion as he expertly twists a header near goal off of a penalty kick. It's close enough to get the crowd riled up but not close enough to change the scoreboard.
At the half: few highlights, no goals against Sounders scrubs
Is Austin FC being outplayed by five teenagers and more Sounders scrubs? Not quite- the club holds 73% possession and has better passing accuracy- but it's definitely closer than players and head coach Josh Wolff would like.
Austin has had just four goals in five matches, and they were all in the same match. Wolff is likely feeling the pressure of a team that can't quite close near goal. On the bright side, the club is once again holding the No. 1 team in the league scoreless, even if it is their scrubs.
As Austin fought through the extra minute of halftime, fans in the supporters section sang Austin band Black Pumas' song "Colors" with none other than the band itself. They're still loud as ever as Austin fights to turn it around and take their second home win.
56' Gallagher makes a comeback
Austin subs in winger Jon Gallagher for the first time since he used his injured foot to score the club's first home goal. Gallagher could provide some much-needed juice to the Austin offense as both clubs fight for the first goal.
Meanwhile, Seattle is bringing in the big guns with striker Raul Ruidiaz, who is tied for the most goals in MLS this season. Austin will have a much harder time keeping the dam closed with Ruidiaz at the stead.
66' Ruidiaz scores for Seattle
OH MY WORD— Major League Soccer (@MLS) July 23, 2021
RAUL RUIDIAZ SEES THE KEEPER OFF THE LINE AND..... 😱😱😱 pic.twitter.com/J42xDEyZE4
No crystal ball was needed to predict a Ruidiaz goal, but no fortuneteller could've predicted a goal like that. After an Austin FC deflection, Ruidiaz shows off his stellar soccer IQ far behind the box and chips it over Stuver's head. Ruidiaz is now the top scorer in MLS, and Austin is down 1-0 to Seattle for the first time.
76' Austin FC goal disallowed, Ruidiaz nearly makes it two
2 minutes, 2 goals disallowed. 😐— Austin FC (@AustinFC) July 23, 2021
Score remains 0-1.
It's not often that a player rolls in goal after the ball they score, but Austin FC defender Julio Cascante pulled it off perfectly. Cascante's diving header was enough to put the ball in the net, but his first Austin FC goal was disallowed.
The dominoes seemed to be tumbling down just minutes later when Ruidiaz appeared to get in yet another goal less than two minutes later, but his attempt was also called offsides.
A lot of excitement, but the score remains 1-0 Seattle.
- Austin FC injuries as of July 1, 2021 - austonia ›
- Austin FC's Q2 Stadium is the biggest party in Austin - austonia ›
- Austin FC takes a draw against Seattle in underdog battle - austonia ›
- Austin FC is the underdog as they face Seattle this weekend - austonia ›
- Austin FC takes home first win at Q2 with 4-1 victory - austonia ›
- Austin FC and Tigres fans are one and the same as the clubs come ... ›
- Sebastian Driussi and Moussa Djitte bring new hope to Austin FC - austonia ›
- LIVE BLOG: Austin FC looks to take down Colorado once again on home turf - austonia ›
- Start high, finish low: Austin can't right a sinking ship in 1-0 loss vs. Colorado - austonia ›
A $500 million mixed-use development spanning 1,400 acres is coming to Southeast Austin, near Tesla’s headquarters at Giga Texas.
Plans for the development by Houston-based real estate firm Hines include 2,500 houses along with multi-family and townhomes, and commercial land. Hines is partnering with Trez Capital, Sumitomo Forestry and Texas-based Caravel Ventures.
The development, which is known as Mirador, will be located off the 130 Toll and Highway 71, which the developers say provides easy access to the Circuit of the Americas Formula 1 racetrack and other Austin attractions like restaurants, parks and live music venues.
Hines also boasts amenities like a 60-acre lake, over 600 acres of greenbelt, community parks, trails and a swimming pool.
“As Austin continues to grow into the tech epicenter of Texas, coupled with a supply-constrained market, the demand for new housing is at its highest,” Dustin Davidson, managing director at Hines, said. “Mirador will be critical in providing more options for Austin’s growing population and we are excited to work alongside our partners given they each provide a unique and valued perspective in single-family development.”
The local housing market has been hot in recent years, with home sales accelerating earlier in the pandemic. In July 2021, the Austin metro area hit its pricing peak at $478,000. As Austonia previously reported, the area has been expected to see the Tesla effect, with the new workforce driving up demand for housing and other services.
The single-family houses are expected to be developed over the course of six years, in phases. Construction on the homes is expected to start this year and home sales will begin in 2023.
- Real Estate - austonia ›
- Luxury real estate to get special tax status under 'blight' statute in ... ›
- Austin sees record-breaking real estate year in 2021 - austonia ›
- What billionaires like Elon Musk look for in Austin real estate - austonia ›
- Austin luxury real estate market booms in pandemic - austonia ›
- What $10 million (or more) can get you in Austin real estate right now ›
- Austin's housing market is hot, but buyers feel burned out - austonia ›
- Fall breeze begins cooling Austin housing market ›
Editor's note: This story summarizes Sports Illustrated's story detailing Michael Center's involvement in the Varsity Blues college admissions scandal, based on interviews with SI's Jon Wertheim. Additionally, Austonia received comments from Michael Center, included in this story.
Confined to his couch, former Longhorns tennis coach Michael Center praised his players via FaceTime after the program he built produced the Longhorns’ first national championship in 2019—a bittersweet moment as Center faced federal charges as part of the Varsity Blues college admissions scandal.
His name dragged through the mud, Center was fired, arrested by the FBI and sentenced to six months in a Central Texas federal prison after pleading guilty to two charges related to mail fraud. And over a year after his release, Center told Sports Illustrated he doubts he was the only one in burnt orange involved.
When the Varsity Blues scandal broke out to the public in 2019, the investigation was a perfect storm for nationwide attention: Hollywood glamour, blue blood conspiracy and faith in the tried-and-true American education system came to a head as 33 movie stars and other elites were found guilty of paying more than $25 million to pave their children’s way into eight colleges, including the University of Texas.
UT was one of eight schools caught in the college admissions scandal. (Laura Figi/Austonia)
The figure behind Varsity Blues, “college consultant” Rick Singer, would plead guilty to four felony counts for faking SAT scores and bribing coaches at prominent universities for his elite clients—but not before throwing Center under the bus.
Singer's client, private equity executive Chris Schaepe, was looking for a way to bend UT's tight admissions policies for his son, who was seeking a position oddly as a manager on UT’s basketball team. Through a middleman, Singer contacted Center, who eventually agreed.
Schaepe's son hadn't played tennis since his freshman year of high school. It was a detail that Center says passed through plenty of hands before he was admitted, including "academic support staff, the compliance office, the sports supervisor and, ultimately, the athletic director," SI's Jon Wertheim writes.
No one in the entire athletic department, including seven "risk management and compliant services department" employees, was named, implicated or punished. After an internal investigation, Center was the only one named in the Varsity Blues "subterfuge" in a September 2019 UT news release signed by the university president.
He told Austonia he was never contacted by the university during the investigation, and when the NCAA interviewed him for its investigation, he says it cleared him of any violations.
“I almost fell out of my chair,” Center said. “I literally couldn’t breathe. There’s no college coach in America—much less at a state school, much less a coach of a nonrevenue sport—who can admit an athlete without consulting other people in the athletic department. What they were asking people to believe, it’s just impossible.” SI said Center's assertion was backed by multiple UT coaches and administrators at other schools.But why would the Forty Acres be complicit?
Center said UT’s then newly named athletic director Steve Patterson made clear that Center suddenly was responsible for more than building a successful tennis program. He was to be a "fundraiser first and coach second" and he would need to find donors to fund a new tennis facility. Patterson admitted to SI that he wanted his coaches to find donors and said the department was "$15 million in the red" when he started in 2013, though he denies any knowledge of the false tennis recruitment.
Center said he knew he would be "considered a team player" if he let in the son of a Silicon Valley magnate. And sure enough, Schaepe immediately began pulling out his wallet, donating $100,000 to UT tennis and a six-figure check to the school's communication program.
"I never entered this as a way to profit. This was a fundraising mission where I made a terrible mistake at the end,"
Months after Schaepe's son was admitted, Center agreed to meet Singer at the Austin airport and found himself accepting a backpack filled with $60,000 in cash meant for him, personally. He said he immediately knew he had made a mistake. He told SI “I put the money in my basement and gave most of it away.”
“Why did I do it?” Center told Sports Illustrated. "I go to bed and wake up each day asking myself the same question. I had to convince myself that I somehow deserved the money."
Once in court, Center showed texts with UT's compliance official and mentioned Chris Plonsky, a department executive involved in "overseeing men’s tennis, compliance, academic support (which generates letters of intent) and the Longhorn Foundation," according to SI.
“I knew I had to answer for my guilt,” Center said. “But I was like, 'Man, schools are going to get hammered.'"'
INMATE 77806-112 but out on Sunday: Actor Felicity Huffman in prison uniform outside low-security Federal Correctional Institution in Dublin to visit actor husband William H. Macy & their daughter. Huffman admitted to paying $15K to have fixer boost daughter’s SAT score. 📸: @TMZ pic.twitter.com/9jALmqnA0U
— Henry K. Lee (@henrykleeKTVU) October 21, 2019
But Center was the only Longhorn to go down for the crimes. “I was no rogue actor,” Center said. “And this wasn’t my word against their word. There were signatures that went along with it. That’s the system... There wasn’t one point in the process where I thought people wanted to learn the whole truth.”
Back at home in Austin, Center watched as actress Felicity Huffman served just eleven days for her part in the scandal. Some served up to five months; others simply paid a fine, and others, like Singer, await sentencing.
And because the prosecution chose to blame individual coaches, framing schools as victims in the case, universities like UT have received less than a slap on the wrist for their possible involvement.
“I was always taught that actions have consequences,” Center said. “What I’ve come to realize is that, yes, for some people actions absolutely do have consequences. Serious, heavy ones. For others, actions can have no consequences at all.”
- Excitement, tensions build as Austin expects 18k fans at first Texas ... ›
- $10 million Austin NIL scholarship fund to help Longhorn athletes ... ›
- UT plans on Longhorns football in fall 2020 - austonia ›
- UT is going SEC! Texas board of regents approves move to future ... ›
- Former UT tennis coach Michael Center in halfway house after ... ›
- Former UT tennis coach Michael Center completes 6-month ... ›