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Week 4: Wolff, Austin FC prep for La Copita match at new practice field
(St. David's Performance Center/Twitter)

Life is good for Austin FC.

The team is 3-0 in preseason scrimmages, has just moved into the multi-million dollar St. David's Performance Center and is gearing up for a true Texas rivalry at La Copita starting this weekend.


At his weekly preseason press conference, Head Coach Josh Wolff said the team's been "waiting for this moment" as they finally make themselves at home at St. David's.

"This is their workspace, this is their safe space, so there's a real flow to the building," Wolff said. "I think the players really enjoy being here, and they know they have a first-class facility, and that excites them every day when they come to work next."

The team has already shut out two USL teams in preseason, but a much bigger challenge awaits this weekend. The team is set to play at their practice center for the first time as they face Lone Star rival Houston Dynamo at 3 p.m. on Saturday.

With over three weeks of training behind them, Wolff said the team has found consistency and identity as a team. They've also switched from focusing on an offensive strategy to implementing their defensive structure, something that Wolff said will be important as they go up against prominent West Division teams like LAFC, the Seattle Sounders and the Portland Timbers.

"By no means do I expect us to have the ball the entire game," Wolff said. "We'll continue to work on defensive structure. Going to LA, against Seattle and Portland, these are good teams that operate at a high level and we want to be one of those teams when we have the ball and when we don't have the ball."

While they've found consistency in their weeks on the grind, Wolff said that the La Copita matchups will help the team secure their first-ever starting lineup.

"We're going to have to start defining who our starters are and really start locking in how we prepare for our first games of the season," Wolff said. "These are the games that will allow us to do that. And then that'll help shape our decisions come April 17."

Sign up for daily text messages from Austin FC reporter Claire Partain to keep up with the team.

Many players have been praised by Wolff by now, including Alex Ring, Tomas Pochettino and Kekuta Manneh. This week's standout is Designated Player Cecilio Dominguez, a powerful forward who Wolff says brings both life and competitiveness to the group.

"He brings real character and quality to the group," Wolff said. "He's got a lively personality, he's super charismatic, but when he plays he competes, and those are things that you hope for as a coach."

After the home Houston match, the team will get a taste of travel as they head up I-35 to play FC Dallas for their first-ever away match.

"Dallas gives us a great opportunity to do a bit of a dress rehearsal of what it's like to travel," Wolff said. "We've got three games in seven days, so we're going to use the entire squad in different ways."

While the La Copita matches are closed to the public and media, they will be streamed on the brand-new Austin FC and Q2 Stadium app, available on the iTunes App store and Google Play store.

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