Austin FC and Tigres UANL fans seemed to be given an uncomfortable wardrobe choice as they headed into the exciting game. Instead of "Yellow or Verde?," many fans asked "Why not both?" as they geared up with both of their favorite teams' colors in a match that celebrated the true spirit of Austin.
In Austin's first-ever international friendly—a match that doesn't affect the teams' standing in their leagues—on Tuesday, Tigres UANL brought the heat that they are known for. With lots of Austin supporters of the Monterrey team, Austin FC and Tigres UANL fans mixed and mingled—and some even bore the same name—as Austin lost 3-1 to the Liga MX powerhouse club.
Both teams brought their backup players to the front of the lineup to start the match. Austin, with its slew of injured starters, saw keeper Andrew Tarbell and defender Aedan Stanley for the first time and put fan favorites Diego Fagundez and Kekuta Manneh in the starting XI. Gentle giant Jhohan Romana and midfielder Tomas Pochettino, both recovered from injuries themselves, were also back on the pitch. Defender Matt Besler took the captain slot.
Rodney Redes broke through with his first goal in the regular season, but the Tigres reminded the crowd of their spot at the top of CONCACAF, a continental championship, as they responded with two back-to-back goals at the end of the match to take the friendly 3-1.
It seemed as though many Austin FC fans who have followed Tigres their entire lives would face a moral dilemma as they went into the match. Instead, supporters sported Verde scarves with yellow Tigres jerseys, sat next to their opposing teams' fans and even cheered for both of their favorite clubs as they went head to head at Q2.
Yellow y Verde
Austin FC fans wore both yellow and green in a rare show of support for both teams at Tuesday's friendly. (Claire Partain/Austonia)
For the first time, the Mexican flag flew next to the U.S. flag at Q2 as both national anthems were sung tearfully by fans in the supporters' section.
While the match didn't count toward either teams' standings, Austin FC fan band La Murga de Austin was as rowdy as ever as they led the supporters' section through heartfelt Austin FC chants. Beer was thrown, water was splashed and a steady drumbeat kept fans alive even after Tigres responded with two goals to win the match.
Meanwhile, Tigres fans found their home base near the top of the West side of the stands. Q2 saw more opposing fans than ever before as hundreds flocked from near and far to watch their lifelong club play.
Javier Hernandez and his wife, Sochy, looked like total Tigres fans as they repped blue and yellow hats and a giant lion's head.
But that choice came more down to jersey options than anything else. The two Austinites are Austin FC fans as well, and they're happy to see the two teams come together. Eventually, Javier wants to combine two Tigres and Austin FC jerseys to form one unified Verde and yellow jersey.
"We didn't know what to wear," Hernandez said. "I had a friend who is from Monterrey too, and he was wearing an Austin FC jersey. There's no rivalry or anything like that. We're all friends."
While most fans said they felt united and accepted by Austin FC in the match, a few said they felt they were unfairly discriminated against as they were asked to leave their own drums and banners at the gates.
Candelario Lopez and his family came from San Antonio and Temple to watch the match. Attending a Tigres match in Monterrey is normally a 12 hour drive, so Lopez said he was happy to have his favorite team so close to home. "It means a lot," Lopez said.
Still, he wished that the opposing fan section was given the same treatment as those in Verde.
"We had no problems at the beginning but, it's a friendly," Lopez said. "We are acting friendly, some others are not."
Tried and true Tigres fans find their own spot
Tigres fans couldn't compete with the excitement of Austin's supporters' section, but they still kept it loud and stayed on their feet throughout the match. (Claire Partain/Austonia)
While one team had to win in the end, the match will help both Austin and Tigres grow in new ways on and off the pitch. Many Austin supporters hope the partnership lasts for many years to come as Austin builds its fanbase and Tigres continue to build on its legacy.
Aselmo Jimenez, who was in Verde but was chatting with Tigres fans, said he knew a partnership would happen before it even started. He said he knew the partnership would continue past the match before it even started. His friend in yellow, Carlos Gomez, agreed.
This is a great opportunity for Austin fans to see firsthand a team from Mexico face our team," Gomez said. "We're excited. The atmosphere and experience is just awesome.".
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Timmy and Tommy are ready to play.
As the 2-month-old white-and-tabby brothers swat feather wands, chase toys and generally hold court inside Purr-fecto Cat Lounge, a half-dozen potential adoptive parents look on lovingly, trying to get their attention.
“This is kind of like the speed dating of cats,” said Lupita Foster, owner of Purr-fecto Cat Lounge. “I intentionally didn’t put in any tables. That’s why we call it a lounge instead of a cat café because we have these lounge areas where you can sit and relax and cuddle.”
Foster, who has owned a cleaning company, Enviromaids, for 18 years, was inspired to open Purr-fecto Cat Lounge after adopting her own cat, Romeo, from a local shelter.
“When you want to adopt a cat, you have to spend a lot of time with them to get their personality,” Foster said. “I wanted to do something to help the community and something that makes me feel good, that warms my heart. A business with a purpose. This was a perfect idea.”
Actually, a purr-fect idea.
Inspired in part by a cat lounge she visited in Los Angeles, Foster began laying the groundwork for the business in late 2021 and officially opened the doors of Purr-fecto Cat Lounge, located at 2300 S. Lamar Blvd., in July 2022. Since then, she’s worked with rescue organizations such as Fuzzy Texan Animal Rescue and Sunshine Fund Cat Rescue to facilitate nearly 100 cat adoptions.
At any given time, there are 10-15 cats living in the space, which features an ideal blend of calm, cool corners and adorably Instagrammable backdrops with phrases such as “I want to spend all my 9 lives with you.”
Lina Martinez, 32, learned about Purr-fecto Cat Lounge from a friend’s Instagram post and made an appointment to visit two days later.
“My first impression was, ‘AWW!’” Martinez said. “The kittens were to die for. I felt happy and at peace – just what I needed.”
Visitors to the cat lounge pay $15 for a 30-minute CATXperience session or $30 for a 70-minute session that is spent getting to know the personalities of each cat. Foster said the first thing she typically sees from visitors to the lounge is a smile.
“Everybody that enters the door is smiling,” she said. “And we’ve seen people who have cried because they can’t have kids and they decide to go and adopt a cat instead.”
Foster said she loves bringing in cats who might not have a chance to be adopted at traditional shelters. She told the story of one cat named Izzy, who was partially blind, who was adopted by a family that had a deaf cat at home.
“Izzy was not going to get adopted anywhere else, but she’s extremely beautiful,” she said. “If she was in a cage in a rescue and you tell people she’s blind, she was probably going to be overlooked. But visiting our space, she doesn’t seem like she’s blind. She knows her way around. She moves around perfectly.”
Although Martinez, who had been casually looking for a pet to adopt since moving to Austin nearly four years ago, was interested in a cat named Ruby that she had seen on Purr-fecto’s social media, at the lounge she instead found herself drawn to 5-month-old mixed breed Tuxedo cat.
“I thought he was a star,” she said. “He worked the room and introduced himself to everyone. When I laid down to pet Ruby, he ran from the other side of the room and cuddled with me. It was game over. He got me.”
And she, of course, got him, complete with a commemorative photo that read “My Furrever Family” the day she took him home. Although his original name was Emmanuel, she renamed him Sullivan after her favorite DJ.
“Purr-fecto is special because of the amount of effort and love they put into taking care of the cats,” Martinez said, “and finding them good homes and making possible adopters feel at home.”
Foster, who spent a recent Thursday hosting a group of teenagers in foster care at the lounge, several of whom expressed interest in working there, said the best part about her new endeavor is that her heart is always full.
“I just feel complete,” she said. “I always felt as an entrepreneur that I was missing something. I knew I accomplished a lot, but in my heart I was missing a little connection with the community. Now I’m creating connections between humans and pets and that’s amazing. I’m creating family bonds. It’s just about love, you know. And we need that.”
We all have those cravings for an amazing butter chicken or some authentic dosas with coconut chutney, but when I was thinking about where I wanted to go to satisfy my taste buds I realized that my list of great Indian food around Austin was surprisingly short. After doing some research and asking around, here is your list of the best Indian restaurants around town.
This restaurant claims to have the most authentic South Indian food, and from what I've heard, the claims might be true! Their menu features the traditional South Indian dishes of Idlis, Vadas, a variety of Dosas, and more.
If you're looking for an Indian and Tex-Mex fusion cozy restaurant, then look no further! Nasha on East 7th Street prides itself on its specialty margaritas, Tikka con Queso, Biryani, and more creative dishes!