AUSTIN (KXAN) — With the season officially underway, all the excitement and buildup to Austin FC’s inaugural MLS match has given way to more of the regular routine of a 34-game schedule.
That routine also helps build familiarity to a slew of players who made their MLS debut with the club this past Saturday against LA FC.
“It was a lot of emotions going on,” Daniel Pereira, the top overall pick in the MLS Super Draft earlier this year out of Virginia Tech. “Personally, I was nervous, I’m no gonna lie. If I wasn’t nervous, I wouldn’t care. I knew it was a good nervous and I was gonna be fine — I knew after the first five minutes I was gonna be fine. That’s what happened. I was nervous at the beginning, but as soon as we started playing, I forgot about everything.”
For Jhohan Romana, even with MLS serving as what he hopes is a stepping stone to the European leagues, Saturday’s debut was still a landmark day.
“It was a beautiful moment for me,” Romana said through a translator. “This was something I was looking for for a long time. Being here changes your life. This is a very beautiful challenge for me. This is definitely a step closer to going to Europe, for sure. I’m so far thrilled to be here.”
While Saturday’s match against the Rapids doesn’t present as tough a challenge on the pitch as LA FC did — Colorado checks in at 14 in the MLS power rankings and LA FC is No. 2 — the setting in the Mile High City will make things tougher physically than what ATX FC is used to.
“I’ve never played in altitude, and if I have, I’ve never noticed it,” Pereira said. “But we’ve been doing a lot of stuff about it. I heard it’s tough to play out there in Colorado if you don’t play in altitude, but I think we’re doing pretty good doing as much as we can to be prepared for that.”
Austin’s match against Colorado kicks off at 8:00 CT. You can watch in on The CW Austin.