Over seven months and 34 matches, Austin FC’s inaugural season in Major League Soccer went by in a blur. As you’d expect for any expansion club, the year was full of firsts, and contained plenty of moments which will live long in the memory of Verde & Black supporters.
In chronological order, here are Top 10 moments from ATXFC’s 2021 campaign.
Austin FC in the City of Angels
The first match in Austin FC history on April 17 was the culmination of years of work to bring the Club to life. The Verde & Black traveled west to take on Los Angeles FC at Banc of California Stadium, and nearly three years after the team’s name and badge were unveiled in 2018, fans finally got the chance to see ATXFC hit the pitch.
First Goal, First Win
Austin achieved two big firsts in the same match on April 24 against the Colorado Rapids. ATXFC fell behind early, but Diego Fagundez equalized by scoring the first goal in Club history in the 60th minute.
Cecilio Domínguez then scored a pair of goals four minutes apart, sealing the first victory in team history against a Rapids side which wound up winning the MLS Western Conference this season.
That match against Colorado was also notable for the creation of #DENVERDE. ATXFC supporters traveled well all season long, and plenty were on hand to see the Club record its first goal and first win. Supporters followed up that moment with a strong showing in Nashville (#NASHVERDE) on May 23, setting the tone for further great away days like trips to FC Dallas later in the season, when 750 Verde & Black supporters bussed north to fill the stands at Toyota Stadium.
One supporter, Roma Desai, traveled to every away match in the Inaugural Season. She was the honored guest for the Heartbeat of Austin at the home finale.
Meeting the MOC
The moment was more than alright (alright, alright) when Austin FC Minister of Culture and Co-Owner Matthew McConaughey showed up to help supporters practice their chants on May 26 at Q2 Stadium, just a few short weeks before ATXFC played its first match at the venue.
After starting the season with eight straight road games, one of the toughest opening schedules any MLS team has ever faced, Austin FC played its first match at Q2 Stadium on June 19.
It was truly a sight to behold. Between McConaughey donning a green suit and leading a thunderous “VERDE! LISTOS!” chant, to the incredible City of Legends tifo, to a nine-save performance by Austin goalkeeper Brad Stuver, it will go down as one of the most memorable days in Austin sports history.
A Win for Austin
After a pair of scoreless draws in its first two games at home, the floodgates opened when the Verde & Black hosted the Portland Timbers on July 1. Jon Gallagher netted the first-ever goal at Q2 Stadium, igniting mass celebrations in the 28th minute of an eventual 4-1 victory for Austin.
After Austin struggled to score for stretches during the early part of the season, the arrival of Sebastián Driussi, a veteran of clubs like River Plate in his native Argentina and Russian giants Zenit St. Petersburg, on July 29 saw a significant uptick in the Club’s attacking output. ATXFC averaged 1.38 goals in the 16 matches he started in 2021, nearly double the 0.72 goals it averaged in the 18 matches in which Driussi either didn’t play or came off the bench.
Driussi’s five goals and five assists showed the kind of impact the Argentine can have in 2022.
Taking Down H-Town
In front of some of Q2 Stadium’s most raucous crowds in 2021, Austin FC took down Houston Dynamo FC in each of the club’s visits to Austin. A 3-2 win on August 4 powered by a brace from Tomás Pochettino and a 2-1 triumph on October 24 ensured the Verde & Black finished above Houston in the Western Conference standings this season.
McKinze Gaines became the first native Austinite to sign for the Club on July 30, and it didn’t take long for the forward to become the first native Austinite to score for the Club as well. Gaines did so in some style, smashing a vicious side volley in the 79th minute of a 2-0 victory over the LA Galaxy on September 26 at Q2 Stadium.
Ending on High at Home
Everything came together in Austin FC’s final home game of the season on November 3, as the Club cruised past Sporting Kansas City - who sat in second place in the Western Conference at the time - to earn a 3-1 victory. The result was part of a run which saw ATXFC win 4 of its final 5 matches at Q2 Stadium this season, setting the stage well for 2022.