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With his voice still hoarse from the night's loss, Austin FC head coach Josh Wolff looked haggard as he explained the series of events that led to a 2-1 loss to his former club, Sporting Kansas City.
Wolff said that Captain Alex Ring's red card in the second half cost the match as they struggled to keep together without the glue of the team in the final 25 minutes of play.
"It took red to change... the whole dynamic of the game," Wolff said.
For the first 66 minutes of play, the club held onto a 1-0 white-knuckle lead after Jon Gallagher scored his first goal for the Verde and Black seven minutes after his first start for the team.
Gallagher's start for Austin marked the first time a striker scored for the new team as he replaced Danny Hoesen as the club's starter.
Austin FC were the new kids on the block against establishment team Kansas City, but they managed to control the pace of the match for much of the first half.
Wolff said the club effectively found Kansas City's weak spots in the first half of play.
"It was really clear that it was working exactly how we planned on it," Wolff said. "And we gave them a lot of problems."
Gianluco Busio, Kansas City's 18-year-old midfielder, very nearly tied it up several times as longtime KC defender Graham Zusi fed balls up to goal, but Austin FC kept that clean sheet alive thanks to the efforts of goalkeeper Brad Stuver. Stuver saved the day with a two-handed block in the 32nd minute and kept it going as he ended the match with several saves to his credit.
Thanks partially to luck and partially to Kansas City's inability to finish, the Verde and Black went into the half with no goals given up. They seemed to find their tempo and were functioning like a well-oiled machine until the 67 minute, when Ring left the pitch with a deadly second yellow card. Ring, the glue of the club, would be out for the rest of the game.
Zusi, who was drafted with Austin FC's Matt Besler in 2009 and even lived in the Besler family home for their rookie season, consistently brought the ball up into threatening territory, and the left side suffered from a constant barrage of attacks at the hands of KC.
With ten men on the pitch, Wolff took the defensive route as he subbed in defender Julio Cascante for Gallagher. The move proved ineffective; Austin FC lost all offensive footing they had as they worked to keep Stuver protected at goal, but eventually the wall fell down as KC's Ilie Sanchez capitalized on the club's 11th corner kick to tie the match.
Just as regulation time ended, it was clearly Kansas City's match when the deciding goal flew past Stuver.
Ring's uncharacteristically reckless behavior and Wolff's decision to pump the brakes too soon ultimately cost Austin FC the match, and they fell to eighth in the Western Conference.
Wolff said the team hadn't trained to play with 10, but he didn't excuse the decisions that led to the loss.
"There's no excuses," Wolff said. "We haven't worked on playing with 10 men, we're in our infancy, and I'm sure going forward, we will."
Now, the club faces a new challenge heading into next week's match vs. LA Galaxy. Ring will still be out due to the two yellow cards, and the fledgling club will need to learn from a devastating half that saw the team's depth tested for the first time.
A new lineup may need to be drawn, but Wolff said the club will keep their characteristic intensity as they head to their fifth match on the road.
"We go on the road and we play the way we play, and we're going to try to push the tempo," Wolff said. "I don't think that's changing."
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Texas voters are split on whether Gov. Greg Abbott should run for a third term and whether Matthew McConaughey should run at all. But Democrats are clear: they want to see Beto O'Rourke on the ballot.
These are the findings of a Quinnipiac University poll of registered voters released this week.
Abbott and McConaughey received the highest favorability ratings of the elected officials, candidates and potential candidates, according to the Quinnipiac poll.
- Abbott: 49%
- McConaughey: 42%
- O'Rourke: 34%
- Former Texas GOP Chair Allen West: 25%
- Former Texas senator and Republican challenger Don Huffines: 8%
Overall, 48% say Abbott does not deserve to be reelected to a third term compared to 46% who say he does. "A Trump favorite in a state that is turning less red in recent election cycles, Abbott has a decent but in no way overwhelming grasp on reelection," Quinnipiac University Polling Analyst Tim Malloy said in a press release.
Abbott, McConaughey and Beto O'Rourke could vie for governor in 2022. (Office of the Texas Governor)
Voters are also divided on Matthew McConaughey, who is reportedly considering a gubernatorial run. Forty-one percent of voters say they would like to see him run, compared to 47% who say they wouldn't.
The poll found that Democrats and Independents favor the Oscar-winning Austinite, whose party affiliation is unclear. Forty-seven percent of Democrats would like to see him run, compared to 43% who wouldn't. Forty-four percent of Independents would, compared to 43% who wouldn't. Republicans, on the other hand, say 60%-29% they would not like to see him run.
Another possible candidate is former U.S. Representative and presidential hopeful Beto O'Rourke, who is also reportedly mulling a bid. Overall voters say 52%-41% they would not like to see him run for governor. But 77% of Democrats and 50% of Independents would, according to the poll.
"McConaughey and O'Rourke may still be on the fence, but their numbers suggest they have the attention of voters," Malloy said in the same release.
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Austinites will soon be able to train like some of Hollywood's biggest stars as F45, a fitness franchise backed by major celebs, like Mark Wahlberg and David Beckham, is on its way to Austin.
F45 listed Austin as the location of its corporate headquarters in a June 21 federal filing—a big shift for the California company. The fitness franchise is preparing for its initial public offering, which will be as an Austin-based company.
F45 will be one of many California companies—Tesla, Oracle and Samsung—that have recently expanded in the Capital City. The company has several famous investors on its side—famed basketball player Earvin "Magic" Johnson and golfer Greg Norman in addition to Wahlberg and Beckham.
The fitness company is opening a 44,000-square-foot headquarters, located at Penn Field on 801 Barton Springs Road, with a lease running through 2029. F45 was one of the early adopters of Austin-based real estate-technology platform AnthemIQ, helping tenants find commercial real estate.
F45 focuses on one-on-one 45-minute workouts, which patrons watch on in-studio displays. With 2,247 franchise agreements spanning across 63 countries, F45 also has offices in Australia and England.
"We believe this flexibility will enable us to capitalize on our estimated long-term global opportunity of over 23,000 studios," the company said in its filing.
The greater Austin area already has 11 F45 locations, which take up 1,600 square feet of space each.
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