Listen to Austin 360 Radio

Want to make small talk at an Austin FC game? 5 questions to sound like you speak verde

Ramon Ramirez
Special to the American-Statesman

It’s Season 2, and Austin FC is under construction.

The team should be better in ‘22. The coach is remarkably ambitious, but that might be a bad thing. (More on that below.) And like the Major League Soccer club itself, the North Austin enclave that harbors the verde and black is changing.

What white whales are we chasing as fans this coming campaign? As a season ticket holder who attended 15 games last season, I can vouch for the nascent fan culture; it is earnest, inclusive, perhaps sweetly naïve about what’s realistic, and ultimately great.

More:Austin FC schedule, how to get tickets, how to watch games and jersey numbers

Fellow citizen, now is the time to buy a stitched Austin FC polo from an area Academy and open your heart to a scrappy upstart that, sure, may struggle to remain competitive even among its sideshow rivals.

But when we become the soccer version of the Green Bay Packers in 50 years, you’ll want to say you were there back when there was parking.

The Austin FC season opener against FC Cincinnati is Saturday at Q2 Stadium. We've put together a fan guide of things to know when joining the #VERDE family. 

In this installment: How to spark deep conversation with strangers at the stadium with five common questions.

Austin FC's supporters are legion, and they're sure to turn out for Saturday's season opener at Q2 Stadium.

Is the Austin FC coach any good? 

I happen to think Austin FC head coach Josh Wolff is the man for the job, and Landon Cotham of the "Moontower Soccer" podcast seems to agree, telling me: “The jury is still out on that one. By all accounts of people who have worked with him in the past when he was an assistant coach, everyone thinks he’s an extremely intelligent tactical mind, but last year he struggled a little bit with game management.”

Cotham adds that “this season, we’ll get to see if he’s a good coach or not, because he has a much deeper team, and has that year of experience under his belt.”

Basically, Wolff is very ambitious in the offensive, possession-style play he wants to implement. Many believe it’s too complex a system unless you’re a club with elite performers in Europe.

More:Austin FC fans excited for team's second season, return to Q2 Stadium

Will Austin FC make the playoffs this year?

Probably not. Nashville moved to the Western Conference, too, and that makes for a tougher road. Thankfully, Dallas and Houston likewise missed the playoffs last year and are fellow cellar dwellers. Dallas sold its best player to a German club. Austin FC should comfortably be the Lone Star State’s top team. 

Unfortunately, the Western Conference features 11 other teams.

Who is Austin FC's best player?

With apologies to fan fave Brad Stuver, captain Alex Ring and beating heart of the squad Diego Fagundez, I think it’s Argentinian playmaker Sebastian Driussi. He joined the team late last season and immediately changed our offensive fortunes. He’s a leader. He’s a great passer. He has the individual skills to single-handedly change the scoreboard.

Argentinian playmaker Sebastian Driussi joined Austin FC late last season.

Who’s the new Austin FC player we’re excited to watch this year? 

Cotham has circled two player additions to the team: “The two new guys that are gonna have the biggest impact on whether or not this team is better than last year are going to be Johan Valencia and Ruben Gabrielsen. Austin was very thin at center back last year; Gabrielsen is bringing quite a bit of experience playing in Europe for the past eight or nine years. And then we also struggled in central midfield. Those were just two really big holes that have been filled with what seem to be high-quality players.”

Seriously, where can I park at or near Q2 Stadium in Aus?

You didn’t hear it from me, but the industrial area along Metric Boulevard has low-price solutions via parking apps and cash lots.