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.
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Actor, director and screenwriter Justin Theroux isn't the only famous member of his family. His canine companion Kuma made waves online this past weekend supporting Austin Pets Alive!—and Jennifer Aniston is a fan.
Theroux launched Kuma's own Instagram account on Saturday with a link to Austin Pets Alive!'s website in her bio. And the grey pitbull mix is already garnering the kind of attention worthy of her movie star dad: As of Monday night, she has over 55,000 followers.
Chief among them is Jennifer Aniston, who posted a photo of Theroux and his newly online dog on her Instagram story yesterday with fond words for the Austin shelter.
"Love what these two are doing to help people who help pups who help people," the 'Friends' star, and Theroux's ex-wife, wrote. "They helped save 60 pups at Austin Pets Alive! yesterday."
Theroux began volunteering at the shelter while filming 'The Leftovers' in Austin when he fell in love with the shelter's pitbulls, according to Dr. Ellen Jefferson, Austin Pets Alive! president and CEO.
"We are thrilled that he and Kuma are spreading the word about the work APA! is doing and the need to keep Austin no-kill," she said, referring to the shelter's commitment to save animals most at risk for euthenasia.
Theroux adopted his mut in 2018 after Kuma was rescued—dirty and injured—from the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey by A Chance to Bloom Dog Rescue, based in Conroe, Texas.
While Kuma is not from APA!, Theroux connected with the Conroe-based non-profit while visiting the Austin shelter, and he has remained "an enthusiastic supporter" ever since, Jefferson said.
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Six days a week, thousands of onlookers tune in to live streams to watch the pros rake it all in at high-stakes poker tournaments. The big-name poker players aren't in Las Vegas or even Oklahoma's finest casinos—instead, they're where Texas Hold 'Em gets its name.
Gambling may be illegal in Texas, but over a hundred poker houses are using a loophole to open up shop across the state, especially in Austin and Dallas.
The classic poker game is finally getting played for real cash around the Lone Star State thanks to an exception in Texas' gambling ban that allows poker games to be played in private residences. Instead of taking a cut from the pot like traditional gambling ventures, private poker houses don't make money from the results of a game; instead, they get their revenue from membership and hourly fees.
It's a business strategy that's gone (mostly) unchallenged by Texas politicians, especially as the industry begins to heat up.
Austin may now have around 20 poker houses around town, but it wasn't long ago that one stood alone like a small town saloon. The city's premiere poker house, Texas Card House, was founded in 2015 and has since grown to include a YouTube channel with over 30,000 subscribers, a wide range of gameplay and regular visits from big-name poker gurus like Brad Owen and Doug Pope.
David Lagana, a content creator who has worked in college sports and Hollywood, was brought into the scene in May as the house's live streams began to blow up. He said the live streaming battleground is only beginning.
"The space is ever-growing," Lagana said. "It's been interesting to try and find a lane that everybody can succeed. It's all about finding something that people want to watch on a nightly basis."
Can Player BLUFF Andrew Neeme and Brad Owen on LIVE Stream?
Watch now - https://t.co/4Wt4s5Z0V7@TheBradOwen @andrewneeme pic.twitter.com/Yg4R0c0sj2
— Texas Card House (@texascardhouse) August 25, 2021
Carolyn Hapgood, who has worked for Texas Card House for three years, has made a name for herself as a live stream producer, dealer and player herself with the company. She's seen Texas Card House grow from a two-room card house to the most well-known poker venue in Austin with another branch in Dallas.
"It was a teeny tiny little house with five tables, and that was the first legal card house in the state," Hapgood said. "And since then it's blown up."
Texas Card House dealer Carolyn Hapgood has been working with Austin's premier poker house since 2018. (Texas Poker House Austin/Facebook)
From $100 pots to buy-ins of $15,000 or more, Texas Card House has it all, especially as in-state players learn more about the game. Hapgood said there isn't really a typical poker player at the house—instead, the poker table forms an "interesting little ecosystem" that includes college students, a 93-year old Vietnam War veteran, online gamblers, old-school players and everyone in between. The diversity at the table has been enhanced even further by COVID as people clamor to return to in-person events.
But Texas Card House no longer holds a "royal flush" in Austin's poker culture. The Lodge, based in Round Rock, is now expanding to over 60 tables, the largest in Texas, while Palms Social Club, owned by Texas Card Houses' original owner Sam Von Kennel, brought service staff and a refined atmosphere to the Austin scene.
Hapgood said the base of poker players is very large and continues to grow, forming a community as players form friendships on and off the table.
"My favorite part of the poker community is how much fun we have," Hapgood said. "You sit at a table with eight of your friends, everyone's kind of just having a good time. There's a lot of players who will, you know, call or text each other after they're done playing, and they end up inviting each other barbecues, and going out to dinner with their families and stuff like that... those are my favorite people to hang out with."
Getting involved in the poker scene is as easy as tuning into a live stream, and Lagana hopes to see more outsiders like himself get inspired by poker in the future.
"It's kind of like life," Lagana said. "Life isn't just one hand to play... you're only in control of sort of what's in your hand (and) you can't play the card that you weren't dealt with. So it's really been a fascinating life lesson for me."
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From four-time Grammy-nominee turned big-screen actor, Black Pumas frontman Eric Burton will debut in the sci-fi short film "Devexity," which is written, directed by and stars Austinites.
The film, brought to life by Austin-based filmmaker Luke Lidell, will premiere on Oct. 7 at the Native Hostel while Burton is in town for Austin City Limits Fest. Then, "Devexity" will head off to film festival screenings, according to a report by The Austin Chronicle.
Following Burton as the film's protagonist, named Jean, "Devexity" takes place across several different settings and surfaces an existential response from the watcher. Burton stars alongside fellow Austinites Ali Pentecost, Dominique Pitts and New Yorker Madison Murrah in the partially black-and-white film.
The film was shot over the course of four days in October 2020, which Lidell said was a challenge of "focus" and "trust" to create. With a variety of scenes and intertwining narratives, the film dives into the topic of virtual reality.
A musician in addition to a filmmaker, Lidell previously directed the film "Telekinetic" in 2018. The script for "Devexity" was written by Lidell with Burton in mind for the lead after meeting him during a music video project in 2017—Lidell said Burton helped him shape the characters along the way.
Now that the door has been opened for work between Burton and Lidell, you're likely to see the pair collaborate again—a Black Pumas documentary is being rumored.
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