Fresh from a loss to a lower-division San Antonio FC, Austin FC proved it still has the chops to maintain its home fortress as it once again rose to the top of the MLS West with a 3-0 Vancouver Whitecaps win at Q2 Stadium on Saturday.
The team is still undefeated at its home stadium this season as it notched its third straight MLS win for the first time ever, in part thanks to its skillful archer Maxi Urruti, who drew back two successful shots to land his first brace with his new team.
Another second-half goal by forward Sebastian Driussi finalized the 3-0 win and pushed Driussi, who has scored six goals this season, to the top of the league's scoring stats.
Here are three takeaways from the win:
Scoring season continues
No.3️⃣7️⃣ always knows where the goal is! 👌 pic.twitter.com/4fezbDmJas— Austin FC (@AustinFC) April 24, 2022
Austin FC's scoring droughts have all but dried up this season, and they have the stats to back it up: Driussi, who scored his sixth goal this season with a header in the 67th minute, is now the MLS' top goalscorer.
Urruti isn't far behind—in the four games since he scored his first Verde goal against San Jose April 2, the acrobatically-inclined striker has essentially been handed a permanent starting spot after scoring four goals in the last four MLS matches.
The goals keep pouring down in Austin's Q2 Stadium, and the club is 8-1-1 in its last 10 matches at home. The Verde and Black have scored 20 goals in eight games—at least three more than any other club, including the West's current runner-up LAFC—and has the largest goal differential between itself and its opponents in the league.
Will this cut out all the "bonus" game talk?
3 points, clean sheet, Maxi brace , Sebas top scorer, Top of the table ( at least for couple hours 😅) but I’ll guess it’s all bonus games. pic.twitter.com/8yEUvagkeW— Alexei Plaza (@AlexeiPlaza) April 24, 2022
Earlier in the week, Austin FC's color commentator Michael Lahoud entered a bout of heated banter with MLS analyst Andrew Weibe.
Weibe, like other commentators, couch quarterbacks and others who watched the team's less-impressive first season, hasn't been as awestruck as some Verde observers with Austin FC's performances. Instead, he and others have prescribed to the idea that Austin has shot to the top thanks to "bonus" games, or matches that are somehow guaranteed wins because of the opposing team's standings.
Austin has only played one of the top eight MLS West clubs so far. But some of those clubs are sitting at the bottom, at least in part, due to their losses to Austin FC. And Inter Miami and FC Cincinnati, who both conceded five goals to Austin this season, have rallied and even won against other higher-ranked clubs after their loss to the Verde and Black.
If the club's fifth win doesn't damper those "bonus" game claims, good performances against its upcoming teams will: next up, the club will take on a Texas Derby rival in Houston Dynamo, which currently sits at seventh in the conference. That match will be followed by three straight matches against higher-ranked clubs, including LA Galaxy, Real Salt Lake and LAFC.
Futbol or 'funbol'?
It’s a party! 🥳 pic.twitter.com/lfOc76SHmM— Austin FC (@AustinFC) April 24, 2022
It's a lot easier to smile during an Austin FC win, and new positive energy has been found in every facet of the game.
Felicidades to the happy couple 💚💚 pic.twitter.com/cczMEbh4lc— Los Verdes (@LosVerdesATX) April 24, 2022
Midway through the first half, a couple temporarily silenced one of Austin's loudest crowds to date as the two announced their engagement in front of thousands.
Be careful with the rattlesnakes in Austin. 🐍😉 pic.twitter.com/3EnfXT1p8u— Austin FC (@AustinFC) April 24, 2022
And on the pitch, Austin FC's players have had plenty of chances to bring out their elaborate goal celebrations.
The goalscoring duo of the night, Urruti and Driussi, debuted a new snakelike handshake after Driussi's goal.
The new move was the latest of several different celebrations brought out after a Verde goal: Urruti continues to revel in the latest goal with an archer-style pose, and every time the team scores, the players form a huddle and bring out what can best be described as the coolest possible version of jazz hands.
"(Jazz hands gesture) I have no idea where that came from, but guys started doing it in the very first game (this season and it just kind of continued," goalkeeper Brad Stuver said after the match. "I have no idea where the snake came from, but we're doing it all the time at the training facility. They just look at you and just they just go (snake gesture.) And I'm like, 'I don't know what that means, but cool.'"
After a year of tighter COVID restrictions, Stuver said the team has also bonded over barbecues, club hangouts and more.
"We have our South American contingent, they drink their mate every day, sit around in the locker room and drink their daily latte (and) play cards together," Stuver said. "This year we've done a lot more team bonding and stuff...(we) actually have a little Brazil vs. Argentina, which barbecue is better...just overall, the camaraderie is a little bit more organic."
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!