There was history to be made for Austin FC on Saturday night. After a 2-0 opening loss at LAFC last weekend, the expansion club still hadn't gotten a first MLS goal, let alone a first draw or win. That all changed with three goals inside of 12 electric second-half minutes, leading to Austin FC's 3-1 win at Dick's Sporting Goods Park over the Colorado Rapids.
Austin FC head coach Josh Wolff, in the post-match press conference, acknowledged how big the win was for the club and the city they represent.
"Obviously, it's a momentous occasion for the city and for this organization," Wolff said. "I said in our pregame meeting, we're gonna fight together, we're gonna suffer together, and we're gonna win together, and we're coming out here to play ... that's what we're here to do, and we did all those things."
After nodding to the hard work of the staff and players, he added: "Moments of games are up and down, but they grinded, they fought through and there a lot of good feelings right now."
Wolff said the change from the first to the second half had a lot to do with the philosophies of ball movement and space creation that the team's been working on since coming together for the first time two months ago. But he also acknowledged Cecilio Dominguez, Austin FC's first-ever Designated Player, who scored the go-ahead goal in the 67th minute and then repeated the feat four minutes later.
"In the second half, I told Cecilio to get down, get in pockets [of space], get in between the lines" rather than playing out wide as he did for parts of the first half. "He's got great awareness in and out of goal."
Wolff also had praise for Jared Stroud, who started his first match for Austin, sparked the expansion club's opener with his hard-charging run into the box that led to Diego Fagundez's opening goal, and brought energy throughout his time on the pitch.
"Stroud's awesome," Wolff beamed. "He brings energy, he brings intensity, he's so tenacious, the way he presses against the opponent, and also his verticality." Wolff noted that although the team wasn't able to generate all the offense they wanted in the first half, Stroud made contributions running at the defense that carried over into the second half.
"He's tireless, and unapologetically, he competes with his teammates, with the opponent, which is great because that becomes infectious. We have to compete, there is a level of physicality, and he's somebody that's there every day, certainly bringing that to training and games, so a lot of credit to him — he helped get us going in the right direction.
Wolff didn't just credit the players and the organization for the win — he had praise for the group of several hundred verde-clad fans who made their way to Denver and gathered in the stadium to witness history.
"Hopefully, the fans appreciated that," he said of the win. "I can't say enough about their contributions before the game, during the game and after the game. That support is talked about, it's well recognized. Our guys love the fans, the community, and that's one thing that's been there from the moment these guys set foot in Austin."
Many of those fans, using the #Denverde hashtag popularized by Austinites who made the trip, shared images of their jubilation throughout the match.
And it wouldn't be a proper Austin FC slice of history without the club's very own minister of culture joining in.