Everything's bigger in Texas, including a potentially legendary three-team MLS rivalry.
With the announcement of La Copita, or "The Best Little Cup in Texas," over the weekend, Lone Star soccer fans are already getting a taste of what can only heat up into a full blown Texas rivalry as Austin FC's first-ever season begins.
La Copita will feature Texas teams Austin FC, FC Dallas and the Houston Dynamo, as well as Texas USL team San Antonio FC going head-to-head just before the 2021 season starts.
For Austin FC, it'll be the first chance to grace the field against teams at their level, but for fans of each club, it will hopefully foreshadow how the Texan clubs will compete, interact and come together for seasons to come.
Longtime Los Verdes member and all-around soccer aficionado Imani Williams, who will be flying in from a year in the Netherlands just in time for the club's first big ATXFC celebration, said that La Copita will let Austin FC prove itself to Lone Star adversaries for the first time.
"I think in large part, (the rivalry is) already there," Williams said. "People are definitely charged up. Austin's the new kid in town, and we kind of want to prove that we deserve this, we belong here."
By the time Austin FC rolled into the state's soccer scene, existing Texas teams FC Dallas and the Houston Dynamo already had a significant rivalry going in their annual cup, dubbed the Texas Derby. The winner of the derby, which is determined by who earns the most points from MLS regular season matches, is prized 18th century mountain howitzer cannon El Capitán.
Now to find a proper name...
Everything's Bigger Cup, Buc-ee's Cup, Texas Triangle Cup, @Whataburger Cup, Lone Star State Cup, Bluebonnet Cup, Armadillo Cup, @TxDOT Don't Mess W/Texas Cup, @LoneStarBeer World Champs, Cactus Cup, Texas World Cup? #AustinFC #FCDallas #ForeverOrange https://t.co/2Xv2kBYQUz
— Josh Jackson ⚽🤘 (@joshjaxon) February 13, 2021
Some fans of FC Dallas and the Houston Dynamo have already expressed their distaste for the MLS's newest darling, which already has a 10,000 plus-person waiting list for season tickets.
Josh McGlasson, who moved to Austin from Dallas 13 years ago and has since switched allegiances from FC Dallas to Austin FC, said that many FC Dallas fans including ex-pats like himself are not happy about his switch in allegiance or the club itself, but are excited to have new matches to easily travel to.
"It's been really funny kind of talking to those guys and being mildly apologetic for leaving the group," McGlasson said. "A few of them aren't exactly thrilled with the ownership and kind of how the team came about but they are excited for the rivalry and for some extra away games to go to."
Austin FC will bring new intensity to the mix because it is a team already built on rivalry itself. McGlasson said that Austin is a soccer city full of diehard soccer fans of all creeds and crests. As a member of Austin FC fan club Los Verdes, McGlasson said he's seen fans of even the most bitter rivalry teams come together to represent the Verde flag.
"In parts of the country or the world, you wouldn't ever find Rangers and Celtic fans in the same room together, but here in Austin, that kind of joint appreciation for the same club kind of brings you together," McGlasson said. "There's been so many rival supporters groups in town that are used to bantering back and forth and not supporting the same team, and now we have a single flag to kind of unify under."
Both Los Verdes and fellow fan club Austin Anthem have already been in communication with FC Dallas and Houston Dynamo groups to create an immersive and fun environment around the games. McGlasson said that many FC Dallas fans in Austin and Austin FC fans alike are preparing for celebrations for gamedays in Dallas, Houston and even Denver for the team's first nationally-broadcast game against the Colorado Rapids on Saturday, April 24.
Regardless of rivalry, many soccer fans can agree that the "world's sport" changes lives, builds communities and gives people something to cheer for. That's exactly what Los Verdes and the Texas soccer community are eager to be a part of, Williams said.
"We want to give people some of the best times of their lives," Williams said. "This is the kind of community that people meet best friends for life or their future partners. And it all happens within this like crazy cascade of color. It's a beautiful, organized chaos. I think we all could use a little bit of that camaraderie."
Austin FC will sow the seeds for a Texas rivalry legacy in La Copita with preseason scrimmages against the Houston Dynamo FC at home at 3 p.m. on Saturday, April 3, away at FC Dallas at 4 p.m. on Wednesday, April 7 and at home against San Antonio FC at 4 p.m. on Saturday, April 10.
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East Austin restaurant la Barbecue has been robbed a third time in less than three months, according to a post on the restaurant's Instagram.
In the post, the restaurant included photos of what appeared to be a man exiting a minivan from surveillance footage.
"This guy pulled up in a car full of stuff… he ripped our gate open and stole a couple empty kegs," the post said. "The ring system scared him off so he did not venture back into the area. PLEASE EVERYONE ON THE EAST SIDE BE CAREFUL!!! This guy goes back into his car to grab something before he goes in. I am hoping he won’t be back!!"
The robbery comes as many restaurant and food truck owners have been on guard from recent break-ins. East Austin cheesesteak truck R&B's Steak and Fries has also been robbed three times in around three months, according to owner Kris Elliott. Elliot said the truck was last robbed around a month and a half ago.
"When the weather gets cold, it seems like these things start to happen more often," Elliott said. "We're just happy no one got hurt."
Additionally, he said all 5 of the food trucks in their lot have experienced burglaries. The landlord of the space is taking action by investing in alarm and camera systems. "Been very tough dealing with this problem as us small business owners are just trying to survive during the pandemic," Elliott said.
And it's not just in East Austin. North Austin restaurants Eldorado Cafe and Chez Zee Bistro were both broken into and robbed on the weekend of Jan. 8, while over a dozen food truck robberies and break-ins were reported in the latter half of 2021.
Some, like Chez Zee's Deborah Velasco, wonder if the understaffed Austin Police Department's decision to no longer respond to non-emergency calls is part of the problem. Xose Velasco, owner of East Austin's Discada, said owners are keeping their guard up in the wake of the robberies as he was robbed twice within a month of reopening in November 2021.
"We try to keep the lights on," Velasco said. "We're a little bit more careful."
After 12 months, the long-anticipated massive Tesla factory in Southeast Travis County is up and operating and everyone wants a look inside.
Phase 1 of Giga Texas appears to be tied up as production of the Model Y Tesla is underway, the electric car company revealed on Wednesday in its fourth-quarter earnings call. The factory, located on the former Harold Green-turned Tesla Road, sits on more than 2,000 acres of land in southeast Travis County.
Here's a glimpse inside the factory.
Model Ys will be the first Teslas to come out of Giga Texas with an estimated delivery of August. The wait estimate comes after Tesla noted supply chain issues have affected their factories, which have been running below capacity for several quarters. A deep blue metallic like this goes for $1,000 more than a white or silver Model Y, totaling $61,990.
Model Ys began being produced at Giga Texas at the end of 2020. In general assembly at the factory, the Teslas get their major interior components to finish the vehicle.
Workers at Austin's Gigafactory are attaching seats to a structural battery pack. It's been described by some as the biggest difference between Texas-made Model Y's and the current version at the Fremont, California factory. It shouldn't have a major impact on the owner's experience, but Tesla has updated instructions for the jacking procedure, as the lift points are different.
With a sleek, open office setup, workers can take in a view of the factory from their seats. It's a component CEO Elon Musk wanted for what is now the headquarters of Tesla.
On the Austin, Texas public location Snapchat, a photo of inside Giga Texas has appeared. On the left you can see a sneak peek of a Model Y body.pic.twitter.com/N7zliZ5vkL— Sawyer Merritt (@Sawyer Merritt) 1643081462
With Snapchat's maps, anyone can look at everyday activity happening at the factory. To view these geographically-linked stories, click the bottom left "map" icon and search "Tesla Giga Texas." Once you've found it, you can view the Snapchat story of those in and around the facility. While most stories stay up for only 24 hours, Giga Texas is a designated place on Snapchat, allowing users to view a collection of photos and videos from the inside.
Following Model Ys, Texas-made Teslas will include the Cybertruck, Semi and Model 3. But it might be a while before those other models arrive. EV makers have been hit hard by the chip shortage, and it's thought that changing features are contributing to Cybertruck delays as Tesla works to compete in the electric pickup market.
Joe Rogan paid a visit to buddy Elon Musk this week. The two have been seen around town since both moving to Texas. Naturally, Rogan was impressed with the prototype.
If you're dying to get a closer look at this factory, you just might get to. In December, Musk said the factory would have tours available to the community early this year.
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