Austin FC II has played 18 games so far in their first season in MLS NEXT Pro, led by Head Coach Brett Uttley. They have completed over half of their inaugural season and still have 10 games left to play with just four of those games taking place at Parmer Field at St. David's Performance Center.
The Verde & Black currently sit in second place in the Western Conference with a record of 10-4-4 while having the best home record in the league of 8-1-1.
“Overall, I’m really proud of where we’re at as a group,” said Uttley. “There’s a lot of hard work that went on during preseason and we were able to start the season off on a good foot earning wins and getting points on the road as well.”
Austin has had a season filled with both ups and downs, but they have approached each day as a chance to learn and grow. ATXFC II has faced various challenges and gained valuable experiences that have prepared them for any situation. At the start of the year, ATXFC II went on an unbeaten streak of eight games that lasted almost two months. Although they then experienced three consecutive losses, Coach Uttley believes this tough stretch was crucial in building the team's resilience.
“We went through a difficult patch where we didn’t win a match for three games. From that, we learned a lot about the group,” Uttley said. “From their character, their ability to rebound and continue to work hard, and continue to take on information during that time period. That was a great time for us to come together and get even closer as a group and come out of it. I think we learned a lot about ourselves, as individuals and as a team during that period.”
Austin's recent performances have been impressive, having gone unbeaten in six out of the last seven games since their three-game losing streak. During this stretch, they have outscored their opponents 12-1. Four of these unbeaten matches were played at home, where Austin has the highest number of home wins in the league. Parmer Field at St. David's Performance Center has become a true home-field advantage for the team.
“The environment that’s been created at Parmer Field at St. David’s Performance Center has been second to none,” said Uttley. “The level of fan support is incredible from the first whistle to the last whistle. Our guys love being able to celebrate three points with the fans after the game when the music goes on and just the interaction between the players and the fans is really special. I know our players enjoy it and any time we can connect with the fans is really special and I don’t think it gets much better than doing that over three points.”
As there are just over two months of regular season play ahead, the team is aware that there is still much to strive for.
“We’ve done a lot of hard work so far this season through a lot of weeks of training and games,” said Uttley. “What the players understand is that as a group we haven’t accomplished really anything yet, we still have a long way to go. There are still a lot of points on the table, still a lot of opportunities for players to keep competing and keep improving their game both individually and collectively. I think the key as the season winds toward the end is remaining true to our way of playing, our principles and I think if we do that we’ll be just fine moving forward.”