Emiliano Rigoni arrives in Austin amid playoff push

Today was Emiliano Rigoni’s first day on the job.

Twenty-three days after Austin FC signed Rigoni, the Argentine winger finally arrived in the Capital City. The holdup was for receipt of his P1 visa.

The day started with a runout in the team’s 9am training session at St. David’s Performance Center on an unusually wet summer day.

Rigoni entered practice side-by-side fellow Argentine, and former Zenit Saint Pete teammate, Sebastián Driussi. It’s the first glimpse we got of the number he’ll wear — No. 77, which he donned at São Paulo.

After training, Emi made his way to McKalla for an introductory press conference at the Q2 Stadium Field Club, as well as photo ops on the pitch and the “Grow the Legend” autograph wall.

Austin FC holds a press conference for new designated player forward Emiliano Rigoni #77 at Q2 Stadium in Austin, Texas, on Monday August 22, 2022. (Photo by Jacob Gonzalez/Austin FC)

Emiliano Rigoni’s introductory press conference

Head Coach Josh Wolff and new designated player signing Emiliano Rigoni spoke with the media following his arrival in Austin. Here are highlights of Rigoni’s first press appearance for the club.

Opening statement about Emiliano Rigoni by coach Josh Wolff

“We’re all quite excited to have Emiliano here. It’s taken awhile, but that’s part of the process. The wait has been worth it. Emiliano comes to us as a very mature professional. A very well-traveled professional. A very experienced professional. And his qualities are quite clear.”

When could Emiliano Rigoni play his first game

“We look forward to getting him integrated and certainly on the field as soon as possible.” Wolff added, “It’s important he gets acclimated; his family gets acclimated. Those things allow for a better transition and onboarding on the field. Over the next few days we’ll get a better picture of where he is physically. I don’t feel he’s far off.”

Wolff was asked more directly at the end of the press conference when Rigoni might see his first match and Wolff said, “I won’t rule out the weekend.” We interpret that to mean Friday at Q2 Stadium against LAFC.

As a former teammate of Driussi’s, what chemistry can we expect

Rigoni speaking through a translator: “Before Russia we never knew each other. After playing three years with him [Driussi], I know him off the field and obviously on the field. The chemistry just came naturally. We’re excited to play together and hopefully to give us a run in the playoffs.”

Why Emiliano Rigoni chose to wear No. 77 at Austin FC

Rigoni speaking through a translator: “I had the number 77 in São Paulo, where I had a great season. So hopefully number 77 will bring me good things here in Austin.”

The translator stirred up controversy among Verde fans when he skipped over translating Rigoni making a point about how he originally wanted number 10, but was told it wasn’t available, so the club offered him number 21, which he did not want. He settled on number 77.

Wolff on how Rigoni can help Austin FC late in the season

“You’ve seen the players that have come in midseason and the boost they’ve given teams. We feel and expect Emiliano can do that. We have eight games remaining. We’re hopeful he can play in a majority of those.” He went on to say, “We want to make as strong a run as we can here at the end of the year and put ourselves in a position for the playoffs to make a run at it.”

Emiliano Rigoni on what position he might play for Austin FC

Rigoni speaking through a translator: “My favorite position is the right wing. I can play with both feet. I’ve played in the middle where Seba [Driussi] played. I think I’m very good one-on-one.”

Cover Photo Credit: Austin FC

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