11/22/2016 11:22 AM
FC Austin Elite establish themselves as contenders in first season
Successful initial season sets team up for strong title run in 2017
The first year of FC Austin was a remarkable success. We launched our first team into the WPSL hoping to finish in the upper half of the table. The Elite proved to be equal to the task! The Elite established themselves as a contender for the Southwest Division title and the leading team in South and Central Texas.
The season started out early with a May 22 trip to Nacogdoches to play fellow first timer, Pines 1776. The Pines team was well organized, stemming from their association with SFA Head Soccer Coach Wally Crittenden. Using SFA’s home soccer field, the Pines played on an immaculately kept pitch and brought a cheering section for their second home game. In a throwback to Brazil teams of old, the Elite came out in a very offensive minded 4-2-4 formation to try to get an early upper-hand. The Elite almost had the game won in the first 20 minutes as shot after shot went wide of the net. With all of the jitters of the first game and the electric fast start, a quick shot by former Austin Ace, Shelby McDaniel put the Pines on top in the first half. After such a shock, the Elite quickly came back to tie the game with Kaitlyn Joy’s first half equalizer. In the second half the Pines scored again, quickly followed up by Lena New’s first goal in an FC Austin Elite jersey. The two teams exchanged shots at the end of the game, but no one scored a go ahead, to end the game tied 2-2.
For our next game weekend, The Elite travelled to Dallas to take on FC Dallas and the Texas Spurs. First up The Elite took on FC Dallas at Dr Pink Park in the Toyota Field Complex. FC Austin got off to a shaky start giving up two goals in the first half, but put things together for the second half, keeping a clean sheet to end the game with a 0-2 loss. The Sunday game at Texas Spurs didn’t end much better with The Elite giving up a goal in each half for a 0-2 loss. It was a long tiring week in record heat in Dallas and we were ready to head home.
The following week brought us a rare Friday game in Houston verses Houston South Select and our first home game of the season against the Pines. On Friday afternoon, we traveled to South Houston to take our first crack at Houston South Select. The Elite wasted no time getting on the scoresheet in the fourth minute with McKenzie Oliver’s first goal of the season. Hardworking Fali Garuba added to the Elite lead in the second half with a great assist from Jackie Acevedo. Plenty of excitement in South Houston as the Elite pick up their first win of the season. Home on Sunday, at the Warrior Bowl, the Elite played Pines for the second time. Shelby scored another goal for Pines against the Elite to give Pines a lead at the end of the first half, but your Elite came through with another goal for Fali Garuba and a follow up first goal for Captain Emily Jorgens. A good weekend for your Elite ended with two wins and six points!
June 18 and 19 brought the Dallas teams to Austin for the rematch that we were waiting for. As we kicked off against FC Dallas on Saturday the anticipation got the best of us in the third minute as FC Dallas poached a goal to take an early lead. The next 87 minutes were full of exciting chances for the Elite with a few good chances for FC Dallas, but the game ended 0-1 for a disappointing loss. With revenge in mind, the Elite got off to a quick start against the Texas Spurs. Jackie Acevedo scored her first goal of the season in the fourteenth minute and the Elite took that 1-0 lead into halftime. A retooled Spurs team came out in the second half and scored quickly to tie the game up. In the final seconds of the game, the Elite got called for a foul in the box, giving up a PK to end the game 2-1.
Excited to make the long trip to Oklahoma, your Elite took 11 players to Tulsa for a night game at Oral Roberts against Tulsa Spirit. Despite several great opportunities, both teams could only come up with a single goal a piece to end the game tied 1-1 with a stellar goal from Jackie Acevedo. A quick trip to Oklahoma City on Sunday morning, led us to the last year’s division champion, Oklahoma City FC. The Elite fought a great game against OKC FC, just letting up for 2 minutes when OKC FC was able to punish our keeper for 2 quick goals, finishing the game 0-2.
The Fourth of July weekend saw one home game for the Elite at our secondary home, the Raider’s Den. Taking all of the frustration of the last couple of weekends out on the Texas Titans saw goals from Ale, Amanda, Woodward, Monica, Vanessa, and Chapa. Your Elite won 6-0 on the Second of July. We continued our home stand back at the Warrior Bowl to take on Oklahoma City FC on July 9. OKCFC took off quick scoring three goals in the first half. The Elite came out on fire in the second half scoring two goals and challenging the goal continually, but coming up short with a 2-3 loss. On Sunday we hosted the Tulsa Spirit on what turned out to be a crazy day. We got a call early on Sunday to let us know two hours before kickoff that ESPN had plans to use the field during our game time and they were going to have to postpone our game by six(!) hours. We searched like crazy and found a wild substitute field across the street. It wasn’t the best field ever used for WPSL soccer, but we did pull out a solid 4-0 victory with goals from Monica (2), Vanessa, and Kaitlyn.
During the last weekend of the season, the Elite took a ten member team (cut short at the last minute by College callbacks) to Houston to face the Texas Titans again. The Elite dropped five goals including one from Chapa and four (4!) from Vanessa in a 5-0 victory. Back at home for the final game of the season, the Elite scored four goals from Monica, Jamie, Jackie, and Kaitlyn in a 4-2 victory against Houston South Select to end the season.
In the end, your FC Austin Elite ended the season in fourth place with a final record of 6-6-2. We finished the season in the top half of standings and averaged about 200 people per game in our initial season. We’re excited to complete our first season and reach our goals for the season. We appreciate all of the support from our players, fans, and sponsors this year and we look forward to an even bigger 2017!