Claudio Reyna assesses Austin FC’s first season and updates on Gio Reyna’s rehab efforts – The Athletic

By the time Austin FC next takes the field for a league match, it’ll no longer be the newest club in Major League Soccer. This is the way the league works these days with franchises popping up almost every year. 

Their season ended in Portland with a 3-0 loss. However, Austin had many successes this year. The club sold out every game at the new Q2 Stadium and hosted both a U.S. women’s team friendly and a men’s World Cup qualifying match. Per a club spokesperson, Austin FC’s season ticket waiting list currently runs over 28,000 seat requests long. The club led the league with merchandise sales (not always a given on an expansion side), possibly thanks to their extraordinarily active minister of cultural. 

The inaugural roster’s construction was helmed by sporting director Claudio Reyna. It wasn’t his first expansion rodeo, having previously guided New York City FC through their first five years. While Austin’s 13th-place finish in the Western Conference this year didn’t meet his or the club’s broader expectations, there’s room for optimism: while NYCFC missed the playoffs upon launching in 2015 (albeit with six more points and a plus-11 goal difference edge on Austin), the club earned more points from 2016 through 2019 than any other club in MLS.

Reyna recently spoke to The Athletic about Austin’s first year and the debut of first-time head coach Josh Wolff. He also gave updates on his son Giovanni’s recovery from a hamstring injury and talked about the mentality of the current USMNT.

This conversation has been slightly edited and condensed to increase clarity.

How would you rate year one in MLS?

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