After a flat first half against the Colorado Rapids on Saturday, it was Diego Fagundez who realized the club's first-ever goal in the second match of Austin FC history.
Fagundez was pounced on by his teammates as he looked toward the Verde-clad crowd, throwing up a signature LV in recognition of Austin FC fan club Los Verdes. Some cried, others cheered as the team went on to celebrate their first victory.
The club has a lot to live up to after their explosive 3-1 win on Saturday, which featured a nonstop 12-minute stretch of three unanswered Austin FC goals. Designated Player Cecilio Dominguez scored twice after Fagundez, helping to shut down the Rapids and keep a wave of energy through the end of the match.
With a decisive win in their rearview and the expectations of the entire league on their shoulders, Austin FC is looking to keep their momentum and secure their second win in history this weekend.
Austin FC vs. Minnesota United
Minnesota United is coming off of a 4th place finish in the Western Conference, but the Loons have only managed to score once in both matches played this season.
The club lost big (4-0) to the Seattle Sounders for their season opener, but that could've been more of a reflection of Seattle, an MLS Cup favorite, than themselves.
Minnesota's lone goal came from midfielder Robin Lod, who scored in the last five minutes of play against Real Salt Lake and was the closest to scoring against the Sounders. The Loons also like to keep possession, so ATXFC will need to capitalize on opportunities they get in the final third.
Austin FC has had its share of troubles too, including what looks to be lack of communication and some midfielding mishaps. With two starters like defender Matt Besler and midfielder Tomas Pochettino back, however, Austin FC is more poised than ever to live up to their potential, and they're definitely in higher spirits after Saturday's match.
Projected starting lineup
Last week's match saw several big changes to the lineup, several of which came out less than an hour before kickoff. With DP Tomas Pochettino out due to "registration issues" per a request by the MLS, Matt Besler out due to the birth of his third child and Rodney Redes swapped for Jared Stroud to resemble a 4-4-2 format, it took a while for Austin FC to get their footing.
They managed, however, and started that glorious 12-minute stretch that would secure the win with three back-to-back goals.
So, why change it up?
It wouldn't be a huge surprise if Redes made his way back onto the starting pitch, but Stroud gave no inclination that he was going to give it up easily. Redes did log the assist for Cecilio Dominguez's second goal, however, and he very nearly made the match 4-1 on his own toward the end of the second half. It's a bit of a toss-up.
Poche is back! Until Wednesday afternoon, we had only vague answers as to why he was mysteriously snatched out of the lineup at the MLS's request just before the Rapids match. In a brief announcement, Austin FC announced that Pochettino is available "for all future competitions."
Finally, Sweat was confirmed to have torn his ACL last week in the Rapids match. He'll be out for a while. Luckily, we've already seen potential in fellow left back Zan Kolmanic, the 20-year-old who recently joined the team after finishing out play in Slovenia. Wolff says he could be the fittest on the team since his season ended the latest, and he's positioned to get the most minutes in left back.
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After months of speculation, a new report says political personality Beto O'Rourke is mulling a run for Texas governor that he will announce later this year.
Sources tell Axios the former congressman is preparing his campaign for the 2022 election, where he will likely vie for the position against incumbent Gov. Greg Abbott. The only other candidate that has announced he will take on Abbott for governor is former Texas GOP Chairman Allen West—no Democrats have announced they are running as of yet.
"No decision has been made," Axios reports David Wysong, O'Rourke's former House chief of staff and a longtime adviser, said. "He has been making and receiving calls with people from all over the state."
A new poll from The Dallas Morning News and University of Texas at Tyler shows O'Rourke is narrowing the gap between himself and Abbott's prospects for governor. In the poll, 37% said they'd vote for O'Rourke over Abbott, while 42% said they'd vote for Abbott.
Abbott has been in the hot seat due to his handling of COVID-19 and the signing of landmark legislation into law, including new abortion and voting rights laws; 54% of poll respondents voted they think the state is headed in the "wrong direction." Still, Texas hasn't had a Democrat as governor since the 90s.
O'Rourke's people-focused approach to the 2018 Senator race, which he lost to Sen. Ted Cruz, gave him a widespread following and many hoped he'd throw his hat into the ring since he said he was considering it earlier this year.
"We hope that he's going to run," Gilberto Hinojosa, the state chair of the Democratic Party, told Axios. "We think he'll be our strongest candidate. We think he can beat Abbott because he's vulnerable."
Austin rapper Jordi Esparza may not have won the 2021 Red Bull Batalla, the world's largest Spanish freestyle rap competition, but for a spirited two rounds, the 22-year old Mexican native looked like he had every right to.
On Saturday evening in Los Angeles, the event itself looked like Cobra Kai meets Star Search with graphics adding a very Batman Beyond aesthetic. Over a dozen rappers hoping to represent the U.S. in the international round of the competition took to the stage with in-your-face jabs at accents, sexual orientation and odors, among other things.
This was Esparza's second rodeo; he had placed third at the 2020 National Finals, automatically securing him a spot this year.
However, things were different this year. He was not nervous about the contest. Unlike in 2020, when he made his Red Bull Batalla debut, the anxiety of the event led him to "feeling so bad."
Affecting a casual calm, the locally-based landscaper said he just felt "so relaxed, so happy" and primarily wanted to "enjoy everything."
Choosing his first-round opponent, Esparza, whose stage name is Jordi, elected to go against LA-based Boss.
Esparza freestyled an attack on his opponent's weight and cholo style of dress.
Boss—bracketing his Latin freestyle with English appeals to the crowd—mocked Jordi's lack of education, made fun of how clean Jordi's shoes looked and suggested that Jordi just came back from a Footlocker.
That first round went to Jordi.
But his next opponent Eckonn would prove to be his undoing.
Eckonn compared Jordi to Hannah Montana, while Jordi soulfully explained that he had learned from the best.
Esparza's verbal dexterity is matched by a rattling rhythm and a game face that is as mawkish as it is mockish. The overall effect is that of an underdog with bite.
Eckonn beat Esparza in that round with the overall championship going to Palm Beach-based rapper Reverse.
However, Esparza was just happy to be there. He recently told Austonia going to the finals again was a dream come true—a pinnacle that he said he won't know how to top.
With his nimble jabs and sneaky prowess, honed from pop culture and the swagger of a young working man hungry to be more, Jordi Esparza is just getting started.