Austin FC built in pandemic and ready to play

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AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Texas’ capital city finally has a major league sports franchise to call its own.

All it took was a fight with another city over an attempted Major League Soccer team move before the granting of an expansion franchise, a bruising spat among Austin city council members over land for a new stadium, and navigating the unknowns of an economy-crushing pandemic to build the facility and a roster of players.

Mission accomplished.

Sprinkle in a dose of celebrity Zen and sizzle from Academy Award-winning actor Matthew McConaughey, who is part of the investor group behind Austin FC, and the club is ready to roll into MLS as the league’s 27th and newest franchise. The team’s first match is Saturday night at Los Angeles FC.

“It’s been a long process to get here, and we just want to get it right,” said principal owner Anthony Precourt, who first attempted to move his previous team, the Columbus Crew, then was granted an expansion club in early 2019.