Austin FC is about two-thirds of the way through its 2023 season, with 23 matches played and 11 still to go following the resumption of league play on August 20. The team finds itself in 5th place in the Western Conference, and as they continue to train and prepare for the run-in, here are five highlights from the campaign so far.
Zardes Sinks Toronto
Gyasi Zardes netted his first goal in Verde & Black on Wednesday, May 17, helping the team grab a gritty 2-1 away win over Seattle Sounders FC. Austin then flew home and faced Toronto FC on less than 72 hours rest, needing a win to keep positive momentum going.
Toronto proved difficult to break down, and the match looked to be heading for a disappointing 0-0 draw as the final whistle approached. But Zardes had other ideas, popping up to head in a rebound from a shot that caromed off the crossbar. Austin claimed all three points and began to march up the table as a result.
Home Cooking in Copa Tejas
Back in June, Austin faced a defining week in its season, with back-to-back Copa Tejas home games vs. Dallas and Houston on June 21 and 24. The team rose to the occasion in emphatic fashion, beating both of their in-state rivals 3-0.
Zardes and Ethan Finlay scored in both matches, and the entire squad put in a pair of impressive defensive shifts to seal two important results. Thanks to those victories, Austin can now clinch this year’s Copa Tejas with a win at Dallas on August 26.
Following the Houston match, Gallagher had a surprise waiting for him in the locker room. As the team celebrated its win over the Dynamo, Austin FC Founder, CEO, and Majority Owner Anthony Precourt interjected to deliver the news that the fullback would represent the Club at the 2023 MLS All-Star Game in Washington, D.C.
It was a tremendous achievement for Gallagher, who still leads all MLS defenders with five goals in 2023. He captained the MLS All-Stars for the second half of their match against English Premier League side Arsenal FC.
Austin made headlines around the league on June 30, when the Club announced the appointment of Rodolfo Borrell as its new Sporting Director. Borrell has over 28 years of experience as a coach and executive for some of the most prestigious soccer clubs in the world, including FC Barcelona, Liverpool FC, and Manchester City FC. From 2016-2023, he was an assistant to legendary manager Pep Guardiola at Man City, winning 14 major honors during that span.
After winning the UEFA Champions League, Borrell began his duties as Austin FC Sporting Director on July 1, and will lead the team's sporting department moving forward.
Offense Shines in Minnesota
On July 8, the Verde & Black faced a tough test up north against Minnesota. Despite a hostile atmosphere at Allianz Field, Austin’s attack found its form, scoring four goals on the road for the first time in club history to seal a 4-1 win. Argentine Designated Players Sebastián Driussi and Emiliano Rigoni were both on the scoresheet, with Driussi netting a brace.
The victory was one of a few exclamation points in a strong recent run of league form, as Austin went 4-1-1 in its six matches leading into Leagues Cup.