Austin FC Playoff Elimination: Here’s what the club is doing about it

That Verde smoke you saw at Q2 Stadium on Saturday night was Austin FC’s season going down in flames.

The club has officially been eliminated from 2023 MLS Playoff contention with one game remaining in the season.

There you have it. Austin falls off a cliff in its third season of MLS play. This, after the highs of reaching the Western Conference Finals in 2022.

In his post match press conference, head coach Josh Wolff summed it up by saying “Disappointing result [against LAFC]. A disappointing season in a lot of ways. That puts us in a position where we’re not going to make the playoffs for certainty.”

What happens next after Austin FC’s playoff elimination?

The club wasted no time in announcing organizational changes. Perhaps to put an end to the swirling speculation among media and fans.

A day after LAFC’s 4-2 thrashing of ATX, an oddly-timed Sunday evening press release made it clear—times they are a-changing at St. David’s Performance Center, the home of Austin FC’s soccer operations and technical staff.

Here is the technical staff turnover that was announced so far.

  • Manuel Junco, who served as Chief Scout since 2020, has left the club.
  • Sean Rubio, who served as head of Player Personnel since 2020, has left the club.

With the ouster of these two head honchos, and the complete dismantling of the club’s talent management department (as it was formerly called), Austin formed an entirely new scouting and recruitment department consisting of five new full-time scouts stationed throughout Europe and South America. Real spy games stuff.

Scouting and player personnel now falls under the direct oversight of new Sporting Director Rodolfo Borrell in the Verde org chart.

Rodo also cleared the air about head coach Josh Wolff’s future with the club going into its fourth season.

Hold onto your hat. Wolff is NOT going anywhere. Here’s the full statement on Josh Wolff by his boss.

Josh is a very good young head coach, and although results this year are disappointing, we are fortunate to have a coach with his level of commitment and knowledge. I am confident he is the right leader for this team.

Austin FC Sporting Director Rodo Borrell / Sept. 8, 2023

Borrell is entrenched in the #WolffIn camp…for now.

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How about changes to the player roster for 2024?

First things first. Before we see any personnel changes to the current first team player roster, we’ll need to finish the MLS regular season—vs. San Jose on Oct. 21.

Things should move quickly after that if it’s anything like last season.

In early November, Austin FC will announce roster decisions on all current players ahead of the 2024 season. The club will identify which players’ contract options are exercised or declined for 2024. Seven current Austin FC players are eligible for free agency—players who are out of contract or have an option year remaining.

If Rodo declines all/most of these contract options, that’s a sign that he’s ALL IN for an overhaul of the roster.

As soon as December 11, we could start seeing announcements from the club about free agent signings, player trades, player loans, and international transfers.

As we saw with the trade of our beloved Diego Fagundez, no one is untouchable from Rodo’s POV.

While fans can and should expect big changes to the roster after a disastrous 2023 campaign, keep in mind that Rodo envisions his roster build taking 2 to 3 transfer windows to complete.

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