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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Austin's Delta 8 industry has been turned on its head after Texas health officials clarified that the cannabinoid is on the state list of illegal substances, though it was previously believed to be legal by most retailers, consumers and manufacturers.
House Bill 1325, which was signed in June 2019 by Gov. Greg Abbott, and the Farm Bill, signed into law by former President Donald Trump in 2018, legalized any hemp product containing less than .3% THC. The same bills were thought to have made Delta 8 legal, though the Texas Department of State Health Services added a notice on its website saying it was still a controlled substance as of Friday, Oct. 15.
Both the federal and state governments keep separate lists on what is considered a controlled substance. Marijuana is considered Schedule I, a category reserved for substances with "no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse," both statewide and federally.
Austin-based CBD retailer Grassroots Harvest CEO Kemal Whyte, like many CBD shop retailers, was blindsided by the announcement. Many small businesses rely on Delta 8 for their sales—Green Herbal Care CBD said about 90% of its sales come from Delta 8—and Whyte said he is frustrated by the inconsistencies in the drug scheduling system.
Since 87% of Texans support the legalization of marijuana, at least for medical use, per a recent poll, Whyte said he wonders who this legislation is for.
"It's gonna have a massive impact on small businesses—there's just no way around it," Whyte said. "The reality is, we don't want to push out anything bad for our customers, we want this to benefit our customers and to help them. If we can make money while doing it, that's the American dream. What are we doing, whose benefit is this for?"
Delta 8 surged in popularity after the perceived legalization—consumers enjoyed its lower psychotropic potency, decreased anxiety while using it and the peace of mind as a legal way to get high. So in order to protect their products and livelihoods, both Grassroots Harvest and Austin-based manufacturer Hometown Heroes are taking legal action.
Whyte said Grassroots Harvest is suing DSHS, saying their action is creating negative effects in the market. Meanwhile, a Hometown Heroes spokesperson said the company is in the process of filing a temporary restraining order that would pause the ban on Delta-8 in the state of Texas.
Threats against Delta 8 are not new—DSHS lost a lawsuit trying to make "smokable hemp products" illegal last year and Texas lawmakers had been considering a bill that would make Delta 8 illegal, though it was dropped after the clarification was made.
Hometown Heroes released a formal statement in response to the DSHS rule.
"I need to be clear—we love Texas, we're just choosing to fight for the will of the people in regards to cannabis in Texas," Hometown Hero CEO Lukas Gilkey said in a statement. "(Texas DSHS) are using backhanded ways to create legislation and go against the will of the people."
Whyte laments the fact that it would be easier legally to "open up a strip club that also sells guns," and said he can't post customer testimonials that mention the benefits of Delta 8 without getting hit with a cease and desist from the Food and Drug Administration. Whyte said he isn't opposed to regulation—far from it—he just wants to see it go through the correct channels.
"The fact that they're stunting our ability to communicate with our clients that want to learn about this, you're preventing us from communicating with them and teaching them, or spreading information that we know," Whyte said. "I think that that in and of itself opens up a lot of questions."
Grassroots Harvest still has Delta 8 products on its shelves for the time being but for how long, Whyte doesn't know.
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Austin Public Health and other clinics around Austin are now providing booster shots for all three vaccines, including Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson, to fully vaccinated individuals after both Pfizer and J & J were approved by the CDC on Wednesday.
APH and Austin clinics, which were already administering the approved Pfizer booster, will begin distributing shots as soon as Friday.
Those who received the second dose of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccine more than six months ago are elligble to receive a booster if they are over 65 or if they are over 18 and:
- Live in a long-term care environment
- Have underlying medical conditions
- Work or live in high-risk settings, such as schools, hospitals or correctional facilities
Austin-Travis County Health Authority Dr. Desmar Walkes said in a media Q&A Friday that APH is encouraging boosters just as much as they have urged residents to get their first and second doses.
"Boosters are incredibly important to keeping our community protected and hospitalizations low," Walkes said. "If we can stay on top of our vaccinations, we provide protections for our most vulnerable and make it that much harder for COVID to spread in our community."
Eligible residents are free to choose the same booster as their first doses or "mix and match," per the CDC announcement.
Those looking for another dose can simply bring their vaccination card to APH centers or the dozens of Walgreens and CVS locations in the metro, which began administering doses Friday.
Additional updated guidance from the CDC allows for all eligible individuals to choose which vaccine they receive as a "mix-and-match" booster dose. It is advised to remember to bring your CDC COVID-19 Vaccination Card showing the original doses with you when going for booster shots.
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