Jersey Number: 7
Hometown: Rafaela, Argentina
Former club: Club Atletico Talleres
Austin FC spent big bucks on Tomas Pochettino, an attacking midfielder from Argentina who went Verde off a $2.5 million contract.
Before he signed on as the club's second Designated Player, "Toto" Pochettino transferred from Club Atlético Talleres in Argentina's Primera División. Pochettino appeared in 62 matches with Club Atlético Talleres, logging seven goals and 10 assists in 62 matches from 2018-21.
With Talleres, Pochettino was an expert at free kicks, and he's transferred that over to his newest club.
"It's something that I'm quite used to," Pochettino said. "I used to do a lot of set pieces and a lot of free kicks back in Talleres so it's something that I have a lot of practice with."
Before the club, Pochettino started his career at the Boca Juniors U-20 team, followed by Boca Juniors II in 2014. Pochettino then helped the Boca Juniors first team to win the Argentine Primera División in 2015 and was loaned to Defensa y Justicia, where he made 51 appearances, scored four goals and made five assists.
With Austin FC
That field-level look to start your day. pic.twitter.com/inyYiBdyXl— Austin FC (@AustinFC) April 4, 2021
As the team's second Designated Player, Pochettino gained a starting position in the club's first match as a creative midfielder for the club.
"Tomás is an exciting and attack-minded midfielder we have been monitoring for some time. He has the technical and tactical qualities we are looking for in a Designated Player," Wolff said. "He will offer us pace and versatility in the midfield, and we are confident he will make an immediate impact on our attacking end."
Pochettino said that he was happy to make the move to the MLS and join Austin FC for its first-ever season.
"I think being a Designated Player's a beautiful responsibility, and I don't concentrate much on it," Pochettino said. "I'm just here to be a part of the team, and I hope that the rest of the team and the technical staff can trust me."
So far, Pochettino has shown that he can be trusted to put the ball in the back of the net. Pochettino scored the first-ever Austin FC goal against an MLS opponent against the Houston Dynamo as part of La Copita, and he put another one in off a free kick against San Antonio FC to close out the preseason. In the team's first-ever match against LAFC, Pochettino saw some of the most chances out of any player on the team, and he proved to be a solid defensive player when needed as well.
Both Pochettino and Wolff have acknowledged that they come with different skillsets: while Pochettino is used to having more liberty as he channels the ball up the field, Wolff has implemented a stricter regimen to help with the team's cohesiveness.
"Tomas is probably used to having more freedom," Wolff said. "So we're bridging that to find the right balance for him, and I think that'll be a continuous growth thing for both of us. And we need to because he's got real quality, and we've seen that in the moments that he's played for us in these games."
Pochettino's biggest goal, aside from scoring, is to leave a legacy behind and make a run for the playoffs.
"I want to leave a beautiful legacy behind in Austin," Pochettino said. "I think my main goal is to make the playoffs (and) I'm also very set on listening to the way that Josh coaches and being the best version of myself for the team."
Off the pitch
Born in Rafaela, Argentina, Pochettino might be the farthest from home in Austin. Although he missed some of preseason due to COVID protocol, Pochettino said he's still had time to connect with his teammates on and off the pitch.
"Everything in life takes time to adapt, and in soccer, I have to rely on my teammates, both on and off the pitch," Pochettino said. "I've been stuck in a hotel for a couple of weeks, but throughout the preseason, I've gotten to know my teammates a lot more. And we've built some great friendships so far."
Though far from home, Pochettino can find a familiar face in fellow DP Cecilio Dominguez. Pochettino and Dominguez went head-to-head as opposing players in the Primera División, but now Pochettino says he's glad to get to know the person behind the player.
"I knew that he's a good player, I know that he wants to get to the ball," Pochettino said. "But now that I've known him as a person off the pitch, I can attest that he's a good an overall great person, so I'm really excited that I get to play alongside him now."
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Expect some whiplash this week, Austinites: with an expected high of 103 degrees, Monday is predicted to be the hottest day of the year, but a midweek cold front is on the way to bring that first glimpse of fall.
Austin-Bergstrom International Airport could see its first 100-degree temperature this year on Monday as temperatures citywide are expected to exceed this year's record of 102 degrees.
The cold front arrives Tuesday afternoon to evening.#atx #atxwx #cbsaustinwx https://t.co/rQni6ug3y4 pic.twitter.com/PoFeHPYtnM
— Chikage Windler WX (@ChikageWeather) September 20, 2021
After a typical summery Tuesday with highs in the mid-90s, Wednesday will welcome the first signs of fall as a cold front drops lows into the 50s.
Expect more wind and a chance of rain come Tuesday with a 40% chance of scattered storms. The cold front, which should last through Friday, will bring drier, crisper air that could cause fire hazards on Wednesday.
Highs will be in the upper 80s and lows in the 50s and lower 60s for the front's final two mornings.
After near record heat today, a cold front arrives tomorrow! Hang in there South-Central Texas, we have almost made it. pic.twitter.com/yd9UbNo7hY
— NWS Austin/San Antonio (@NWSSanAntonio) September 20, 2021
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Around 75 dogs died in a fire Saturday night at Ponderosa Pet Resort in Georgetown, according to the Georgetown Fire Department, leaving dozens of owners to mourn the losses of their furry companions.
The fire department arrived on the scene less than five minutes after 911 calls started flooding in at 10:56 p.m. At their arrival, they found flames and clouds of smoke, according to GFD Chief John Sullivan.
Twenty-five firefighters were on the scene, hoping to save as many lives as possible, initially trying to open some ventilation and control the smoke, though they were unable to save any dogs. Sullivan said his heart goes out to the families of the victims of the fire.
"I've been doing this for 29 years and this is the first incident that I've had where we've lost so many pets," Sullivan said. "I hate to use that term because, to me, a pet is a lot more than a pet—it is the closest friend. I wish I could convey my internal emotions adequately. I just wish I could go back in time to make it better."
Families of the fallen pets, who are believed to have died from smoke inhalation, have created a memorial outside the pet resort's fence complete with flowers, photos, notes and beloved toys of their friends.
No people were discovered at the scene—Ponderosa's boarding policies state that the staff feels that pets sleep better at night when no employees are there, so the pets are left unattended at night.
The fire department is still working to discover what caused the fire. Despite fire and smoke damage to the inside, the outer metal exterior survived the blaze. Based on the type of construction and occupancy type, the building was not required to have a sprinkler system.
"Quite frankly, I view my personal pet as probably my closest confidant, friend and the one that doesn't judge, so my heart just breaks," Sullivan said.
The fire claimed the lives of dog duo Bunny and Clyde, leaving owners and newlywed couple Don and Pam Richard devastated and angry KXAN reports, saying they wouldn't have left the dogs had they known they would be left unattended at night.
The Richard family is planning to petition the city of Georgetown, making it so that animals in professional care are never left unattended again.
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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."