Q2 Stadium attendees swapped their Verde for red, white and blue as they packed the sold-out venue to watch the United States Men's National Team take down Jamaica 2-0 for their first World Cup Qualifying Match on Thursday.
FC Dallas's 18-year-old standout Ricardo Pepi was the man of the match as he scored twice to put Team USA over The Reggae Boyz. The Texas native has scored a brace at Q2 once before in a 5-3 defeat over Austin FC in August.
In a now-signature move for Austin futbol fans, the South Side supporters' section raised a large banner, or "tifo," depicting the original World Cup trophy with the USMNT slogan "Only Forward" displayed across the bottom as the match began.
A night Austin will never forget. It's always great having you, @USMNT. 🙌
📸: @trevorpaulhus pic.twitter.com/h1ZExBUOMJ
— Austin FC (@AustinFC) October 8, 2021
The "biggest party in Austin" was in for a treat as the team played better than they had in months, but it wouldn't prove fruitful until the beginning of the second half. Head Coach Gregg Berhalter's emphasis on "verticality," or quickly pushing up the field, paid off as Pepi grabbed a cross from Sergiño Dest to score from six yards out in the 49th minute. According to The Athletic, the drive from goalkeeper to opponent's goal took just 16 seconds.
A tale of two halves.
And by two we really mean the second one.#OnlyForward #SoloPaLante pic.twitter.com/gSk8YRiNUm
— U.S. Soccer MNT (@USMNT) October 8, 2021
Pepi would strike again in 62nd as he sped one past Jamaican keeper Andre Blake off a cross to score his third goal in just two appearances with the national team.
.@AaronsonBrenden ➡️ @Ricardo_Pepi9 🔥
Third career goal in two caps for the 18-year-old. pic.twitter.com/tKQYeyoxZI
— U.S. Soccer MNT (@USMNT) October 8, 2021
Jamaica would be unable to bounce back as they continued to fall to the bottom of the eight-team Concacaf World Cup Qualifying table.
While the win was expected from a team that has defeated longtime rivals Mexico twice this year, the decisive defeat came even as stars Christian Pulisic—of English Premier League club Chelsea—and Gio Reyna—son of Austin FC sporting director Claudio Reyna—were out on injury.
Standout performances from Pepi, DC United's Paul Arriola and Brenden Aaronson propelled the team to the top of the Concacaf Qualifying table with eight points alongside their El Tri rivals.
The @USMNT's win last night over Jamaica puts them on top of the @Concacaf WCQ Standings 🔝🇺🇸
Can they keep hold of the top spot through October? pic.twitter.com/NXkKttJXFY
— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) October 8, 2021
US national soccer teams are now 3-0 in the brand-new Q2—the USMNT defeated Qatar in July to advance to the Gold Cup finals, while the US Women's National Team beat Nigeria 2-0 in June to christen the stadium.
"When you have atmospheres like we had tonight, it gets the guys up to perform," USMNT head coach Gregg Berhalter said after Thursday's match. "Fantastic field, fantastic stadium, fantastic fans, I mean this is what it's about, this is why we chose a venue like Austin."
The USMNT will head to Panama on Sunday and will finish the World Cup Qualifying series against Costa Rica in Columbus, Ohio on Wednesday, Oct. 13.
- PROFILE: With a family legacy to uphold, Sebastian Berhalter joins ... ›
- First-ever match at Q2 Stadium as the USWNT takes on Nigeria ... ›
- US vs. MEX? A how-to guide on the CONCACAF Gold Cup in Austin ... ›
- Last-minute goal propels Team USA to Gold Cup final at Q2 Stadium ... ›
- Guide to the Gold Cup CONCACAF semifinal match in Austin ... ›
Austin's Delta 8 industry has been turned on its head after Texas health officials clarified that the cannabinoid is on the state list of illegal substances, though it was previously believed to be legal by most retailers, consumers and manufacturers.
House Bill 1325, which was signed in June 2019 by Gov. Greg Abbott, and the Farm Bill, signed into law by former President Donald Trump in 2018, legalized any hemp product containing less than .3% THC. The same bills were thought to have made Delta 8 legal, though the Texas Department of State Health Services added a notice on its website saying it was still a controlled substance as of Friday, Oct. 15.
Both the federal and state governments keep separate lists on what is considered a controlled substance. Marijuana is considered Schedule I, a category reserved for substances with "no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse," both statewide and federally.
Austin-based CBD retailer Grassroots Harvest CEO Kemal Whyte, like many CBD shop retailers, was blindsided by the announcement. Many small businesses rely on Delta 8 for their sales—Green Herbal Care CBD said about 90% of its sales come from Delta 8—and Whyte said he is frustrated by the inconsistencies in the drug scheduling system.
Since 87% of Texans support the legalization of marijuana, at least for medical use, per a recent poll, Whyte said he wonders who this legislation is for.
"It's gonna have a massive impact on small businesses—there's just no way around it," Whyte said. "The reality is, we don't want to push out anything bad for our customers, we want this to benefit our customers and to help them. If we can make money while doing it, that's the American dream. What are we doing, whose benefit is this for?"
Delta 8 surged in popularity after the perceived legalization—consumers enjoyed its lower psychotropic potency, decreased anxiety while using it and the peace of mind as a legal way to get high. So in order to protect their products and livelihoods, both Grassroots Harvest and Austin-based manufacturer Hometown Heroes are taking legal action.
Whyte said Grassroots Harvest is suing DSHS, saying their action is creating negative effects in the market. Meanwhile, a Hometown Heroes spokesperson said the company is in the process of filing a temporary restraining order that would pause the ban on Delta-8 in the state of Texas.
Threats against Delta 8 are not new—DSHS lost a lawsuit trying to make "smokable hemp products" illegal last year and Texas lawmakers had been considering a bill that would make Delta 8 illegal, though it was dropped after the clarification was made.
Hometown Heroes released a formal statement in response to the DSHS rule.
"I need to be clear—we love Texas, we're just choosing to fight for the will of the people in regards to cannabis in Texas," Hometown Hero CEO Lukas Gilkey said in a statement. "(Texas DSHS) are using backhanded ways to create legislation and go against the will of the people."
Whyte laments the fact that it would be easier legally to "open up a strip club that also sells guns," and said he can't post customer testimonials that mention the benefits of Delta 8 without getting hit with a cease and desist from the Food and Drug Administration. Whyte said he isn't opposed to regulation—far from it—he just wants to see it go through the correct channels.
"The fact that they're stunting our ability to communicate with our clients that want to learn about this, you're preventing us from communicating with them and teaching them, or spreading information that we know," Whyte said. "I think that that in and of itself opens up a lot of questions."
Grassroots Harvest still has Delta 8 products on its shelves for the time being but for how long, Whyte doesn't know.
- Willie Nelson to host cannabis convention for 88th birthday - austonia ›
- First hemp vodka in Texas makes its way to Austin - austonia ›
- Travis County approves first Texas Hemp Harvest Festival - austonia ›
- Delta 8 has landed in Austin: what is it and who uses it? - austonia ›
Austin Public Health and other clinics around Austin are now providing booster shots for all three vaccines, including Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson, to fully vaccinated individuals after both Pfizer and J & J were approved by the CDC on Wednesday.
APH and Austin clinics, which were already administering the approved Pfizer booster, will begin distributing shots as soon as Friday.
Those who received the second dose of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccine more than six months ago are elligble to receive a booster if they are over 65 or if they are over 18 and:
- Live in a long-term care environment
- Have underlying medical conditions
- Work or live in high-risk settings, such as schools, hospitals or correctional facilities
Austin-Travis County Health Authority Dr. Desmar Walkes said in a media Q&A Friday that APH is encouraging boosters just as much as they have urged residents to get their first and second doses.
"Boosters are incredibly important to keeping our community protected and hospitalizations low," Walkes said. "If we can stay on top of our vaccinations, we provide protections for our most vulnerable and make it that much harder for COVID to spread in our community."
Eligible residents are free to choose the same booster as their first doses or "mix and match," per the CDC announcement.
Those looking for another dose can simply bring their vaccination card to APH centers or the dozens of Walgreens and CVS locations in the metro, which began administering doses Friday.
Additional updated guidance from the CDC allows for all eligible individuals to choose which vaccine they receive as a "mix-and-match" booster dose. It is advised to remember to bring your CDC COVID-19 Vaccination Card showing the original doses with you when going for booster shots.
- Austin downgrades to Stage 4 as COVID cases decline - austonia ›
- Joe Rogan incorrectly says vaccinated people cause mutant strains ... ›
- Everything you need to know about breakthrough cases in Austin ... ›
- After racing for a first dose of the vaccine, some Austinites find ... ›
- COVID in Austin: 9 ICU beds, alternate care site, booster shots ... ›