Austin FC's debut season has been characterized by two narrative throughlines:
- On-field struggles for the expansion team, with a heartbreaking 4-3 loss to San Jose last Saturday extending their current winless streak to five.
- A raucous home-field crowd whose commitment to singing and exulting for the full 90 has launched Q2 Stadium into the upper echelon on MLS atmospheres.
Goalkeeper Brad Stuver, who has emerged as a fan favorite in this inaugural season, recognized both those storylines in a heartfelt letter he penned to fans on the club's website.
The letter acknowledged challenges that the expansion team has encountered during their first campaign. Despite some early encouraging wins, Austin have lost 11 of their last 13 matches to effectively end their hopes of an Audi MLS Cup Playoffs berth. But the direct address to fans combined owning that current futility with noting the encouragement supporters have brought.
"Although results on the field have not been where we’d like them to be, we cannot put into words how grateful we are knowing we have your support," Stuver wrote. "Every time we put on the Austin FC crest, we know that we are playing for all of you. We know that we represent more than just the name on the back of the jersey, we represent the crest displayed on our chest. The same one you wear on yours."
Stuver pledged a redoubled effort for the remainder of the season, in which Austin will attempt to climb from their current last-in-the-Western Conference status.
"Our goal now is to push in this last stretch of games and prove to everyone what we are capable of," Stuver wrote. "Together, we will accomplish anything we set our minds to. Together, we can make the next nine games a true reflection of not just who we are as individuals, but more importantly, who we are as a club."
That optimism was echoed in a post from Austin FC's social media team, showing head coach Josh Wolff encouraging his squad in training for the nine remaining games on their 2021 calendar.
Stuver also shared his appreciation for the effort that fans have put into creating a home-field atmosphere since Q2 Stadium started hosting matches more than three months ago.
"Y’all have made Q2 Stadium a beacon of what supporting a club should look like," Stuver wrote. "A shining light in a community that grows bigger by the day. Your energy is contagious. You’re talked about by every opposing team that has come to play here in Austin. We hear it from other players all the time. The world has taken notice."
Stuver shared the letter on his personal Twitter account.
Numerous fans responded to Stuver's post, showing their support and continued belief in the team. Austin FC get their next chance at three points on Sunday, when Verde host LA Galaxy (9:30 pm ET | ESPN2, ESPN Deportes).