In a tale of two halves, Austin FC saw a deja vu moment in a road match against the Vancouver Whitecaps as they failed to curb a two-goal comeback from the home team as they lost 2-1 Saturday night.
With the goal, Austin begins a two-match losing streak after their first match abroad while Vancouver reached a ten-match undefeated streak.
Despite the scoreboard, it was Austin who held the advantage over the home team in the first half as triple threat Designated Players Sebastian Driussi, Tomas Pochettino and Cecilio Dominguez work together to get the first goal.
Pochettino passed the ball to himself to move up the pitch, sending the ball to Dominguez before Driussi connected with a deliberate bouncing header for his second goal with the team to finish the first half.
But Austin handed the reins to Vancouver in the second half of play. After a series of errors from Austin FC defenders, Vancouver'sDéiber Caicedo and Érik Godoy score on a header and deflection to win the match. The goals came despite efforts from Austin FC keeper Brad Stuver, who tallied six saves in the match.
Still at the bottom of their conference, Austin will look to capitalize on a "battle for the basement" match as they face off against rivals Houston Dynamo in Houston on Saturday, September 11.
Here were the biggest plays of the match:
83' Vancouver tallies a 2-1 lead
A series of errors, including a slow reaction from Jhohan Romana, leads the Whitecaps to a 2-1 late-match lead after Brad Stuver blocks a shot but is unable to block a deflection scored by the Whitecaps' Déiber Caicedo. Looks like it could be a tale of two halves as the scoresheet once again resembles the outcome from their last match against Vancouver.
70' Vancouver ties it up
Just as Austin seemed to be regaining balance in the match, Vancouver's Érik Godoy sends a header into goal to tie the match 1-1.
In response, Austin newcomer Moussa Djitte and Jared Stroud come in for Dominguez and Driussi to bring some fresh legs onto the pitch.
62' Stuver keeps Vancouver at bay
Just after keeping Vancouver's first good shot out of goal, Stuver blocks not one, but two shots in a row from separate sides of the net as he wins a one-on-one standoff with the Whitecaps' Brian White. Stuver is back in top form after a shakier performance against FC Dallas.
59' Austin makes their first sub
As the Vancouver Whitecaps begin to take their signature second-half control, Austin FC makes their first move towards a defensively-minded lineup as center back Jhohan Romana goes in for forward Jon Gallagher.
A minute later, Brad Stuver just chips a shot by Vancouver's Florian Jungwirth over the net as the Whitecaps tally their first shot on goal of the match. Vancouver has the upper hand as they attempt to repeat their 2-1 win over Austin in August.
45+' Austin FC scores!
With one goal and three assists, Sebastian Driussi's already racked up stats with new team Austin FC, and he just added new fuel to the fire as he scored his second goal for the team in the final minutes of the first half.
The goal was a tale of three DPs as Designated Player Tomas Pochettino passed the ball to himself to move up the pitch, sending it to Cecilio Dominguez before Driussi connected with a deliberate bouncing header into goal.
Austin FC finished the half with a 1-0 lead in a half that saw no shots on goal from home team Vancouver.
7' Fagundez receives a yellow card
Go time from Vancouver. 🤝 pic.twitter.com/qyxel7Ay4b— Austin FC (@AustinFC) September 4, 2021
Just as they did last week with a Julio Cascante goal, Austin FC made the first scoring attempt as Austin got the first shot on goal in the first minute of play.
As both teams battle with what seems to be an especially physical match on Vancouver's artificial turf, midfielder Diego Fagundez receives a yellow card in the seventh minute of play. Fagundez, who often makes a difference on both sides of the ball, will need to tread a bit more lightly if he's to stay in the match.
Head Coach Josh Wolff has brought Hector Jimenez back in the back line, flanked by Julio Cascante, Matt Besler and Nick Lima. All remains the same in the front end with new striker Driussi and Dominguez leading the scoring front, but Jon Gallagher has been put back in for midfielder Daniel Pereira.
As always, Brad Stuver is in goal, Captain Alex Ring leads the middle and hustler Diego Fagundez is in the mix.
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By Jo Clifton
Members of the city’s living wage work group urged City Council Tuesday to raise the city’s living wage to $22 an hour for the upcoming fiscal year. They said the wage should apply to all regular and temporary city employees except employees of the summer youth program, regardless of position or number of hours worked.
Council members Vanessa Fuentes, Ann Kitchen, Chito Vela, Kathie Tovo and Pio Renteria have already signed on to a resolution on the June 16 agenda calling on the city manager to adopt a living wage of $22/hour in next year’s budget.
The current living wage is $15/hour and that has not changed since 2018. City management raised employees’ wages to $15 as a result of a recommendation from the living wage working group in 2015.
The Human Resources Department convened the working group again this year, asking for its recommendations on a living wage. According to staff’s calculations, providing a $22 minimum wage would cost the city between $18.2 million and $22.8 million, not including wages for police.
Carol Guthrie, business manager for AFSCME Local 1624, told Council during its work session that it’s time to raise wages so the city can meet the demands of the public and its own employees. With inflation, gas prices and rising housing costs, Austin city employees are suffering and underpaid, she said.
While the city raised its minimum wage to $15 in 2018, it failed to keep raising that amount, which should have become $16.83 the following year.
According to documentation provided by the city, as of the end of April, the city had more than 2,474 vacancies, compared to about 1,559 on May 1, 2019. The vacancies include 78 at Austin Resource Recovery, 266 at Austin Energy, 96 in Public Works, 237 at Aviation, 133 at Parks and Recreation, 357 in the Police Department, 198 at Emergency Medical Services, and 126 firefighters.
City employees are suffering, Guthrie said, with some working so much overtime that they have become injured and ended up on the disability list.
City leaders did not foresee the pandemic, nor did they foresee the freeze. “And those additional stressors have played a big role in where we are at today. But something’s got to give. We need more workers. We cannot hire workers. Those who work here – they’re done, they’re spent. They need your help. We’ve got to be competitive. We have got to raise the wage for these workers.” The private sector is now hiring at $20 an hour, Guthrie said, and the city is not able to compete.
Rachel Melendes of UNITE HERE, the union representing some airport employees, said working at the airport is “too stressful. They are overwhelmed,” she said, noting that many airport workers arrive at 3:30 a.m. and leave at noon. “And despite their hard work they are not able to support their families on the city’s wages.”
Fabiola Barreto of Workers Defense said her group has been observing that “the folks constructing the city are not reaping any of the benefits. They’re moving to Buda and Kyle,” because they can’t afford to live in Austin.
Complicating matters, every Council member is aware of the fact that, as a result of state law, they can’t raise taxes more than 3.5 percent without the permission of voters.
Council Member Natasha Harper-Madison voiced her support of the wage proposal. She said she is telling people in her district that they should be prepared to move out of Austin as prices rise higher. That would be better than waiting until they have missed rent payments, she said.
Council Member Alison Alter told her colleagues she is committed to a wage increase, but could not commit to a specific number. She said, “Keeping our workforce competitive is the highest priority.”
Kitchen said it was her goal to reach $22 as recommended by the working group. She said it was particularly important that the public understand the trade-offs city management might have to make in order to pay the amount employees need. She told City Manager Spencer Cronk, “Get us to $22. If you can’t get us to $22 … tell us why.”
Guthrie told the Austin Monitor after the meeting that she and other members of the working group would be at the Council meeting next week to push for adoption of the $22/hour resolution. However, she said she was disturbed that the working group put in so much effort seven years ago to tell the city to raise wages, but there was no action on their recommendations after the city raised the living wage to $15.
Guthrie said she and others would be ready to fight for their wage proposal. In addition to AFSCME, other members of the group include representatives of Central Texas Interfaith, Workers Defense Project, Laborers’ International Union 1095, IBEW Local 520, the Austin chapter of General Contractors, Plumbers Local 286, Greater Austin Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, the Austin LGBT Chamber, UNITE HERE, Local Progress, Texas Antipoverty Project and the Equal Justice Center.
When Mark Coffey moved to Austin in 1986, it was the land of Stevie Ray Vaughan shows, MTV and new opportunities.
Now, it may be the land of limited housing, property tax hikes and California license plates—but many are still choosing to stay for remnants of that old-school charm.
Austinites love to lament the loss of “Old Austin”—they’ve been saying it since 1884. And with one-bedroom rents up 112%, home appraisal rates up 56% and the cost of living on a seemingly endless upward trend, it's hard not to see Austin's past through rose-tinted lenses.
But even in money-stretching times like these, some Austinites are taking a break from their usual complaints to remind themselves why they choose to stay.
Mark Coffey has stayed in Austin for decades due to its uniqueness, inclusivity and community. (Mark Coffey)
As a near-original Austinite, Mark Coffey didn't have too much trouble buying a house or finding a job with pension benefits at a local utility service decades ago. Still, he said he's stayed in Austin for more than financial security.
"Despite the cost of living, the brutal heat and traffic... I think the trade-off is that Austin has always kind of had that sense of possibility," Coffey told Austonia. "Of all the cities in Texas, it's been the most open to change and future possibilities and I don't think that's ever completely lost."
Austin's unique spirit has attracted like-minded small-town Texas kids looking for community. Gabriel Rodriguez, who grew up in the Rio Grande Valley, moved to Austin a few years ago after graduating from Texas State University and still hasn't become bored with the vibrant live music scene.
Gabriel Rodriguez, who has experience as a musician has found a home in Austin's live music scene and with Austin FC. (Gabriel Rodriguez)
"The big thing to me was the music," Rodriguez said. "That's what made me want to move to Austin in the first place... I grew up in a place that didn't have that."
Coffey, Rodriguez and many others have also found the Austin spirit with Austin FC, the city's first major league sports team, and its vibrant and community-minded fanbase.
Reason for being in love: Austin FC.
— Micky Ruñoz (@HighMs66) June 7, 2022
"Austin FC has come around and it's caused both old and new Austinite to kind of rally around something that like, yeah, this is our club, but it's also a statement about the kind of community we want to be," Coffey said.
For others, like Michelle Sanchez, Austin is home for many reasons—namely, a famed food scene, family and plenty of outdoor activities.
Proud, Austinite. I love Zilker (all the greenbelts), people for the most part are friendly, soccer, the food, and the fact that my family lives here. <3 I have thought about leaving once my contract is up.
— Michelle Sánchez (@MichelleS_tv) June 7, 2022
In a Reddit post that saw nearly 800 comments, dozens of users pointed to outdoor activities—from Barton Creek's Greenbelt swimming holes to paddle boarding on Lady Bird Lake and trails dotting the city's outskirts. Others said that despite its flaws, they've never found anywhere better.
"Austin doesn't do anything spectacularly, but does more things adequately than most anywhere I can think of," user boyyhowdy said.
However, for some, those "adequacies" still aren't enough to stay.
Over austin too. I resigned a (sub)lease for a super small studio that’s 40% lower than the average 1 bedroom in Austin. This will be my last year in Austin, so I’m staying to save money then move to a city with actual public transit and ditching my car.
— amanduh (taylor's version) (@hey_amanduhh) June 7, 2022
Rodriguez said he's thought of leaving too. But whenever he thinks too long about the city's flaws, he finds solace in Austin's live music venues, including his favorite, Moody Theater. Coffey, meanwhile, recommends longtime spots like Continental Club, the Broken Spoke or even South Congress for a quick "old Austin" fix.
And with housing prices showing signs of slowing down and longtime haunts like Austin's longest-standing grocery store opening back up, there still may be time to reignite a romance with what "Keeps Austin Weird."
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