Before Charlotte FC were the new team on the block, it was Austin FC. But before Austin FC one must look to the Columbus Crew, who's story is intertwined with Austin.
The now former owner of the Crew, Anthony Precourt, wanted to move the Crew franchise to Austin back in 2017. A controversial move that Crew fans protested, and eventually led to new ownership of the Club.
But Precourt’s Austin dream was still alive as MLS gave him the green light to bring the franchise to the city. On January 19th, 2019, Austin FC was officially announced the league’s newest expansion team with a 2021 start date.
They would play in Q2 Stadium, a 20,500-capacity soccer specific stadium built solely for Austin’s new soccer Club. And first ever coaching appointment would be Josh Wolff, former assistant coach at the Columbus Crew under current U.S. Men’s National Team coach Gregg Berhalter.
Being the only professional sports team in Austin, really helped in getting the city to embrace the team right out of the gates. The Austin FC fans have made a name for themselves as one of the most passionate fanbases in MLS despite only being around for a few years.
Off the pitch, everything was falling in place, but on the pitch Austin struggled all season eventually finishing 12th in the Western Conference out of 13 teams. But despite having a disappointing first season, Austin built a strong foundation to build off for the future.
Austin reaped the benefits of that strong foundation sooner than most expected. Los Verdes are thriving in their second season, currently sitting in 3rd place in the West and tied 2nd for most goals scored in all of MLS.
They’ve been one of the more electric teams this season, and are looking to be on their way to their first playoff season. In their past three matches, Austin have won one, lost another, and drawn in their most recent against Texas rivals, FC Dallas.
Sebastián Driussi: The Argentinian playmaker arrived midseason in Austin’s inaugural season and completely changed the team since. He’s one of the favorites for MLS MVP this season with his lead leading nine goals in addition to assisting another four.
Diego Fagúndez: It’s hard to believe that Fagundez has been playing in MLS for twelve seasons but is just reaching the prime age of 27. He played ten of those season for the New England Revolution, but has found new life in Austin. The Uruguayan American midfielder has used his versatility to become a staple at the club.
Brad Stuver: After spending most of his career as a backup goalkeeper, Stuver found his home in Austin. In their Inaugural season, he locked down the position, and was named Austin FC’s Defensive Player of the Year in 2021. He’s been one of MLS’s better keepers since joining and has become a fan favorite.