Nor'easters face the Texas team in their backyard
The Ocean City Nor’easters must get past the Austin Aztex in Texas in the 100 degree heat if they have a chance to reach the final.
Manager: Paul Dalglish 2013 season: 1st Mid South Div. (11-1-2)
Best off season signing: Aaron Guillen (USA) One to watch: Tony Rocha (USA)
The Austin Aztex are one of the newest PDL franchises and the minority owner of the previous Aztex team, David Markley, founded the club in 2011. (The old Aztex moved to Orlando to become Orlando City SC.) Paul Dalglish, the son of Liverpool legend Kenny Dalglish and a MLS cup winner with the Houston Dynamo, coaches the club. Markley’s vision was to develop a soccer club with local talent that plays attacking soccer, and the past two seasons that vision has come into fruition with Daglish at the helm. The large majority of the Aztex players have some sort of ties to Austin or Texas – either through their college team or hometown.
The Aztex enjoyed a successful first season last year, finishing second in the Southern Conference playoffs (losing 4-2 to Orlando’s U23 team in the final) and scoring the most goals in the conference. After the PDL season, three Aztex players Dillon Powers (a candidate for MLS rookie of the year), Kekuta Manneh and Blake Smith were all drafted in the top eleven places of the 2013 MLS draft.
There hasn’t been a sophomore slump for the Aztex as the club only improved in its second year in the PDL. Austin finished with the (11-1-2 , 35 pts) record in the regular season and ended the year in the top-5 in the PDL in goals scored and fewest goals allowed – a testament to the club’s balance.
The franchise plays its games at House Park, unfortunately a football stadium that was built in the 1930s but fortunately located close to downtown Austin and an intimate venue (no track). The team played in front of its largest crowd 2,673 last match in a 2-0 win over Laredo Heat in the Southern Conference finals. The large crowd was due the Austin Aztex supporters - Eberly’s Army. The fan group (formerly known as Chantico’s Army) supporters all soccer in the Austin area.
Austin received two awards after its inaugural season The team’s staff won the marketing award and was heralded for its buys twitter account, and Director of Operations, Ric Granryd earned the Betsy McAdams Key Grip Award.
Photo’s by James Goulden (right) and Jeff Burns (left)
Check out the possible starting 11 below: