Austin FC Begins Season With Negative Shift


Ralph Arvesen

Austin FC’s playoff run this season has been lackluster and disappointing. Photo courtesy of Ralph Arvesen.

The final whistle blows, and while one team is filled with excitement for their first win of the season, another remains disappointed in their lackluster performance so far in the season. Following the loss against LA Galaxy on Saturday, April 22, Austin FC is now winless in five league games and is sitting 11th in the table. Although the team wished to build upon their deep playoff run last year, the campaign so far has been disappointing.

Last year, Austin FC enjoyed a massive improvement from their first season, finishing second in the western conference instead of 12th. They also made it to the western finals, beating FC Dallas and Real Salt Lake but losing to LAFC. Nonetheless, fans were excited about Austin’s potential, but they have not lived up to it so far this season. Other teams that made playoff runs, such as LAFC, picked up right where they left off, having not lost a game yet and sitting third in the table. Even teams that Austin FC beat, like FC Dallas, have enjoyed a solid start to the season, sitting in fourth.

The offseason brought new faces to Austin. Several players left over the transfer window, with key players Moussa Djitte and Ruben Gabrielsen heading back to France and role players like Felipe Martins and Jared Stroud, who scored against Austin in their first loss of the season, going to other MLS clubs. However, these losses were met with other players coming in, such as Leo Vaisanen and Gyazi Zardes, to add some more depth. Along with that, coach Josh Wolff has changed the lineups a bit, moving Alex Ring back as a center back while starting his son Owen Wolff instead. Injuries have also plagued Austin so far in the season, with Zan Kolmanic tearing his ACL and Diego Fagundez being out for a month with a groin injury. Overall, this Austin team is not the same as it was last season.

Throughout the season, some losses came down to just a few moments, like Kipp Keller’s odd error against St. Louis, while some resulted from overall poor team performance. For example, the exciting opportunity of a Concacaf Champions League game was overshadowed by a horrible performance, as Austin was down by three goals against Haitian team Violette. It’s frustrating to realize that Austin would be in a different position at the table if it were not for a few tiny moments.

Austin FC was the first major sports team in Austin. Therefore, the club means a lot to the city. On game day, the streets are packed with supporters heading to the game, and the supporter section is one of the loudest in the league. When the team does badly, the fans become disappointed but remain faithful to the team. Even though Austin FC has had a bad start to the season, it’s necessary to stay hopeful, and I’m sure with the support of fans, they can rally and get back to the top.