On the Win Last Night

Scoreboard at McKalla Place says it: Austin FC Wins!Austin FC fans haven’t had an easy time of it lately. A long run of losses, a spot at the bottom of the Western Division, and being included in discussions about the worst expansion team in league history will do that. There’s been lots of grumbling – or outright yelling – about the coach, the technical director, the owner, and the team. Players wrote open letters asking fans to not give up on them. And the fans kept showing up. From first-timers taking advantage of a chance to get more affordable tickets, to the die-hards who still put in the many hours needed to create the stunning tifo unveiled last night.

The soccer gods rewarded that faithfulness last night, and gave us a true gift: a convincing 2-0 win, at home, against a tough opponent. It turns out that a (usually) superhuman goalkeeper isn’t enough, and that strikers are actually good players to have on your team. (It also turns out that the color of the coach’s shirt doesn’t make a damn bit of difference. Can we let that dumb bit go now?)

On the ESPN broadcast, Twellman and Champion talked at one point about the “eye test”, and how Austin has been passing it for most of the season. That is, if you watch most any stretch of any Austin FC game from this year, you wouldn’t know they were a brand-new expansion side struggling to get on its feet. There are some exceptions, for sure, but most of the time our team looked like they were holding their own, at the very least. They gave up a few key goals too many times, and they failed to score their own even more often. So here we still are, bottom of the division at the end of September.

One win doesn’t put us in the playoffs, obviously. This season may still end badly. But at a time when some were starting to wonder why they bothered, or if they would ever again leave a match at McKalla Place feeling anything other than anger, sadness, or a mix of both, this win was everything. This win reminded us of what’s possible, and what this team is capable of.

See y’all back in the stands again next Saturday.

Violet Crown Verdict on beating the LA Galaxy 2-0: Two thumbs up