Austin FC will play first-ever game April 17; home opener set for June

Q2 Stadium
Austin FC's inaugural home opener will be held June 19 as construction wraps up on Q2 Stadium. (Nicholas Cicale/Community Impact Newspaper)

Austin FC's inaugural home opener will be held June 19 as construction wraps up on Q2 Stadium. (Nicholas Cicale/Community Impact Newspaper)

Note: This article was updated at 3:50 p.m. March 10 to include quotes and information from Austin FC President Andy Loughnane.

Austin FC and its fans will have to wait three months for the inaugural kickoff at Q2 Stadium.

Major League Soccer on March 10 released its full schedule of home openers ahead of the 2021 season. Austin FC will host its first-ever home game at Q2 Stadium on June 19 with a match against the San Jose Earthquakes.

Austin FC will play its first game in team history April 17 when it takes on Los Angeles FC at the Banc of California Stadium in Los Angeles. The match will be held at 4:30 p.m. and is available to watch on Fox and MLS Live.

“April 17 will represent a new chapter in Austin history, and preparations for our inaugural season are officially under way,” said Claudio Reyna, sporting director for Austin FC, in a March 10 news release from the team.

The professional soccer league has not released the rest of its regular season schedule. As previously announced, the 2021 season will begin with a slate of games April 16 with the regular season ending Nov. 7.

Construction on the stadium is approximately 95% complete, Austin FC President Andy Loughnane told Community Impact Newspaper March 10, and is on track to be completed in its original timeline by early April.

Loughnane previously said Q2 Stadium would not be ready to host games until this summer, partially due to necessary training for employees and personnel ahead of the stadium opening. The team is currently working on recruiting and hiring employees to work at the stadium.

"We’re in the process of finalizing a couple of full time positions that are stadium related," Loughnane said.

As of March 10, it is unclear if fans will be permitted to attend the home opener inside Q2 Stadium.

City of Austin and Travis County officials stated March 9 they would continue to enforce mask mandates despite earlier conflicting orders from Gov. Greg Abbott. Under a set of standing emergency rules renewed by Dr. Mark Escott, the Austin-Travis County interim health authority, on March 4, Austin and Travis County businesses are instructed to require masking from staff and patrons. Escott’s standing orders have been in effect since August of last year and are currently set to extend through April 15.

The orders for businesses do not explicitly outline capacity limits but do include directions for businesses to maintain social distancing measures between groups of customers.

“Businesses should also clean and disinfect high touch items, require at least six feet between groups of ten or less and post face covering and hygiene signage,” a March 9 news release from the city states.

Abbott’s March 2 executive order lifted capacity restrictions on all businesses statewide, including professional sports venues.

Loughnane said the team anticipated opening its inaugural season on the road for more than a handful of games, and the team intends on using the window to see how professional sports operate statewide before making an announcement on in-person attendance.

"We will be able to observe MLS matches in Texas and other large professional sporting events, including Major League Baseball," Loughnane said. "We will continue to observe and continue to be patient."

Any announcement on the possibility of in-person attendance at Q2 Stadium for the 2021 season will likely be made in May, Loughnane said.

While the team's first game in Austin over a month away, Loughnane said Austin FC is exploring ways to safely bring fans together at Q2 Stadium and other venues for events.

"What we would like to do is begin the process of identifying watch-party opportunities, whether it is at iconic Austin venues or inside Q2 Stadium," Loughnane said. "We’ll have to be very careful, but that is our intent. ... We’ll have a handful of games to do that."
By Iain Oldman
Iain Oldman joined Community Impact Newspaper in 2017 after spending two years in Pittsburgh, Pa., where he covered Pittsburgh City Council. His byline has appeared in PublicSource, WESA-FM and Scranton-Times Tribune. Iain worked as the reporter for Community Impact Newspaper's flagship Round Rock/Pflugerville/Hutto edition and is now working as the editor for the Northwest Austin edition.


Tents have become a common sight throughout Austin including along Cesar Chavez Street downtown, but with the passage of Proposition B the city may now consider moving unsheltered homeless individuals to designated sites. (Ben Thompson/Community Impact Newspaper)
Austin City Hall notebook: Designated campsites for the homeless are back on the table

City staff had previously dismissed developing official camping locations in 2019, but new directives from City Council this week could revive the concept in Austin.

Wag-A-Bag is headquartered in Round Rock. (Megan Cardona/Community Impact Newspaper)
Wag-A-Bag to operate under new ownership, name; Austin, TxDOT at odds over I-35 overhaul; and more top Central Texas news

Read the most popular business and community news from the past week from the Austin area.

Stephanie Hayden-Howard will become an assistant city manager in Austin on May 10. (Jack Flagler/Community Impact Newspaper)
Role changes coming for health officials leading Austin-Travis County COVID-19 efforts

Dr. Desmar Walkes will take over as Austin's next medical director and local health authority as Dr. Mark Escott and Stephanie Hayden-Howard transition to new roles with the city.

Road closure stock image
TxDOT to demolish I-35 ramp in North Austin early Saturday morning

State crews will perform controlled implosions of the northbound I-35 to northbound US 183 flyover between 6-8 a.m. in the morning on May 8 and May 15.

Hand casting ballot stock image
What a potential election recount would look like at Pflugerville ISD

A race to determine a seat on the Pflugerville ISD board of trustees is separated by only 2 votes. What happens if a recount is requested? Read here to find out.

Pflugerville ISD administrative building
Facing possible budget constraints, Pflugerville ISD exploring energy conservation program

District officials are mulling over a program that may save the district more than $2 million in utility costs.

Bohls Middle School rendering
Pflugerville ISD officials working to get off-schedule middle school construction back on track

The contractor on the Bohls Middle School project has requested an extension on the timeline to substantially complete construction.

A pilot Austin Police Department cadet class is now set to commence in June under an updated training regimen and with additional city and community oversight on the APD academy's culture and curriculum. (John Cox/Community Impact Newspaper)
Austin City Council votes to restart APD cadet training in June, with framework for ongoing reviews of pilot academy

The Austin Police Department's 144th cadet class will now kick off training next month, with continued oversight of APD's instruction and culture throughout the 34-week academy process.

Here are the most recent coronavirus updates from Williamson County. (Community Impact staff)
Here is what you need to know about COVID-19 in Williamson County

Here are the most recent coronavirus updates from Williamson County.

A sign advertises a property for rent in Austin on May 6. Local eviction orders remain in place through August 1 protecting most tenants from eviction. (Jack Flagler/Community Impact Newspaper)
Local eviction moratoriums remain in effect despite federal judge’s decision

The May 5 ruling from a U.S. District Court judge striking down a federal moratorium does not affect orders in place in Austin or Travis County.