With exactly a month away from their first-ever match, Austin FC Head Coach Josh Wolff said he's looking forward to testing out the team for their inaugural scrimmage on Friday.
USL club OKC Energy will be the first team to face ATXFC's newly-formed roster. The scrimmage, which will consist of two 45-minute sessions on Friday at St. Edward's University, is closed to media and fans.
Wolff said in a press conference on Tuesday that he hopes to see both their strengths and weaknesses shine through in the scrimmage.
"My expectations are that we do what we've been working on. It'll show us what we're doing well and where we need to continue to work," Wolff said. "It's about how much we can score goals and minimize the opponent."
In the scrimmage, Wolff said he hopes to get as many players as possible to play a full 45 minutes in the scrimmage.
"Hopefully we get everybody that we need to 45 minutes," Wolff said. "If that means that we split time for a couple of guys, then we'll do, it but the goal is to get the majority of the guys that we need to 45 minutes."
Center back Julio Cascante said that the team still has a long way to go because everyone on the team is hoping to be at their best.
"We are still learning," Cascante said. "It's going to be tough, but it's because everyone wants to be perfect, because we have that intensity (and) we have that way of perceiving the game, but we're ready."
With week two of training underway, Wolff said he can tell that the team's values include quickness and intensity.
"I think we have a very dynamic group," Wolff said. "We play with speed, we play with tempo and intensity (and) our ideas are starting to come out."
This week saw Argentinian Designated Player Tomas Pochettino hit the pitch for the first time. Wolff said Pochettino, who arrived two weekends ago and began training Monday after quarantining, has a lot of conditioning to do but will soon be vital to the team.
"Tomas has been out for a couple of months, but his qualities are clear," Wolff said. "He has a responsibility to the ball in certain parts of the field that's great, and he takes chances in and around the penalty box. It is early, and again I think we're going to see much more in the coming weeks, but it's clear he has quality, and that's always nice to see."
Pochettino's arrival means that all but one rostered player have made it to Austin. Defender Zan Kolmanic has been called to play for the Slovenian national team in the European U21 Championships, which could last until June. In the meantime, Wolff said plenty of players are developing chemistry on the field, including DP Cecilio Dominguez, forward Danny Hoesen and midfielder Diego Fagundez.
"You see a lot of little relationships out there already forming," Wolff said. "Cecilio Dominguez and Danny Hoesen have a nice connection in and around the penalty box, and I think Tomas will show a similar component. There's an intuitiveness to how they play."
Preseason training consists of two daily sessions starting at 10:30 a.m. Wolff said the team has worked hard to make it to Austin and is continuing to be persistent as they head into their first season.
"The focus of the players has been fantastic," Wolff said. "The amount of work they put into a day has been very good. We've got a ways to go, but we just keep charging and the guys have been very receptive."
After Austin FC plays OKC Energy on Friday, the team will gear up for another closed-door match against USL team Louisville City FC on Thursday, March 25 before their first-ever match on Saturday, April 17 at LAFC.
- Austin FC signs Designated Player Tomas Pochettino - austonia ›
- Austin FC announces designated player Cecilio Dominguez - austonia ›
- Report: Austin FC signs Slovenian superstar Žan Kolmanič - austonia ›
- Austin FC to play at Q2 Stadium on June 19, season opener against ... ›
- Austin FC coach Josh Wolff talks on first preseason presser - austonia ›
- Austonia tours Austin FC's brand-new Q2 Stadium - austonia ›
- Lone Star rivalry starts early for Austin FC in preseason cup - austonia ›
- Austonia tours Austin FC's brand-new Q2 Stadium - austonia ›
- Austin FC, MLS release full 2021 schedule - austonia ›
- Austin FC looks to score even more in second preseason match - austonia ›
- Kekuta Manneh's Austin roots shine through with Austin FC - austonia ›
- Wolff, Austin FC prep for new practice field to host La Copita match - austonia ›
- The No. 1 most hospitable Airbnb in Texas is a chicken coop tiny cottage in Austin - austonia ›
- Austin FC coach talks MLS' 2022 season - austonia ›
- Austin FC gets 'sentimintal' with new minty fresh jerseys - austonia ›
By Jonathan Lee
The Planning Commission was split Tuesday on whether to help save an eclectic lakefront estate from demolition by zoning it historic amid concerns over tax breaks and the likelihood that a previous owner participated in segregation as a business owner.
The property in question, known as the Delisle House, is located at 2002 Scenic Drive in Tarrytown. The main house, with Spanish and Modern influences, was built in 1923 by Raymond Delisle, an optician. A Gothic Revival accessory apartment was built in 1946. The current owner applied to demolish the structures in order to build a new home.'
Historic preservationists, for their part, overwhelmingly support historic zoning, which would preserve the buildings in perpetuity. The Historic Landmark Commission unanimously voted to initiate historic zoning in July, citing architectural significance, landscape features and association to historic figures. City staffers recommend historic zoning, calling both structures one-of-a-kind examples of vernacular architecture.
Tarrytown neighbors have also banded together to stop the demolition. Many have written letters, and a few spoke at the meeting. “How could anyone buy this property with the intent of destroying it?” Ila Falvey said. “I think it’s an architectural treasure.”
Michael Whellan, an attorney representing the property owner, said that the claims made by preservationists are shaky. The buildings are run down, he said, and have had substantial renovations. A structural engineer hired by the owner said any attempt at preservation would involve tearing down and rebuilding – an undertaking Whellan said would likely cost millions.
Whellan also argued that any historical significance derived from the property’s association with Delisle and longtime owner C.H. Slator is dubious. “These men are not noted for any civic, philanthropic or historic impact,” he said.
What’s more, according to Whellan, Slator likely participated in segregation as the owner of the Tavern on North Lamar Boulevard between 1953 and 1960.
A city staffer, however, said she found no evidence to support the claim. “We would never landmark a property where a segregationist lived, or there was a racist person,” Kimberly Collins with the Historic Preservation Office said.
Commissioner Awais Azhar couldn’t support historic zoning in part due to lingering uncertainty about Slator. “Focusing on that factor is not here to disparage an individual or family. It is not about playing the race card. This is an important assertion for us to consider as Planning commissioners,” Azhar said.
Commissioner Carmen Llanes Pulido said that allegations of racism should come as no surprise. “We’re talking about white male property owners in the 1950s, in Austin, on the west side – and of course they were racist,” she said. But she argued that allowing the house to be demolished based on these grounds does nothing to help people of color who have been harmed by racism and segregation.
The question of tax breaks was also controversial. Michael Gaudini, representing the property owner, said that the tax breaks associated with historic zoning would exacerbate inequality by shifting property tax burdens to less affluent communities. City staffers estimate that the property, appraised at $3.5 million, would get either a $8,500 or $16,107 property tax break annually, depending on whether a homestead exemption is applied.
Commissioner Grayson Cox preferred the commission focus not on tax breaks but on whether the structures merit preservation. “To me, nothing in the historic preservation criteria lists, is this person deserving of a tax break or not?”
Azhar, on the other hand, said he plans to propose a code amendment getting rid of city property tax breaks for historic properties.
The commission fell one vote short of recommending historic zoning, with six commissioners in support and three opposed. Azhar and commissioners Claire Hempel and Greg Anderson voted against.
The odds of City Council zoning over an owner’s wishes are slim. Nine out of 11 members must vote in favor, and there have only been a handful of such cases over the past several decades.
What's new in Austin food & drink this week:
- Nau's Enfield Drug closing after losing their lease. Did McGuire Moorman Lambert buy the building, with its vintage soda fountain?
- Nixta Taqueria Chef Edgar Rico named to Time Magazine's Time 100 Next influencer list, after winning a James Beard Award earlier this year.
- Question: From what BBQ joint did pescatarian Harry Styles order food this week?
- Austin Motel is opening the pool and pool bar Wednesday nights in October for Freaky Floats.
- Vincent's on the Lake closing due to "economic conditions and low water levels [at Lake Travis]."
- Cenote has closed its Windsor Park location. The East Cesar Chavez location remains open.
- The Steeping Room on N. Lamar has closed.
- Local startup It's Skinny scored new financing for its gluten-free pasta business.
- P. Terry's opened a new location in Kyle, at 18940 IH-35.