Anticipation was through the roof. Everyone expected the show and the soccer team would somehow surpass previous successes.
Ted Lasso’s season took more than a year to be released. After that wait, TV critics and some fans just weren’t happy.
Even NPR’s Eric Deggans, who gave the first two seasons good reviews, had lukewarm things to say about season 3.
“For those who hate character development presented that obviously, this season may be a tough slog,” he said in a review.
Metaphorically, Austin FC‘s season was late getting started as well.
The off-season featured then-Sporting Director Claudio Reyna embroiled in a public feud with the U.S. Men’s Soccer Team coach, Gregg Berhalter. The fallout from that dispute put a six-month pause on Berhalter running the men’s team and —more important to this story — ended with Reyna’s departure from Austin.
On the field, the team stumbled out of the gate, losing games and key players like team captain Driussi to injury. Then, in the middle of their season, a major character was written off the show — with FC trading Fagúndez to the LA Galaxy.
The team backed themselves up into a series of must-win games at the end of the year to even make the playoffs. They then fell short.
Just as Ted Lasso had scenes on a plane in the first and last episode, Austin sits currently in 12th place in the Western Conference, exactly where it ended season 1. The end is the beginning.
But there’s hope for tomorrow, if you —ahem— believe.
Despite the criticism, the Ted Lasso team is in line for even more Emmys (once the actors’ strike is concluded and the awards are given). There’s even rumor of another season or a spinoff in the Ted Lasso world.
Season 4 of Austin FC has always been a certainty. But who will be a part of the team when they take the pitch next year remains to be seen. Austin’s new sporting director, Rodolfo Borrell, came to Austin over the summer. He’s worked in player development for Manchester City, Liverpool and Barcelona. While in Barcelona, he was involved in the youth academy that helped develop another MLS star, Lionel Messi. He just helped Man City win the 2023 FA Cup, Premier League and Champions League trophies as an assistant.
And here’s another glimmer of hope for Austin FC’s future. It has its own spinoff, if you will. Austin FC II – the club’s second-tier team — is playing in the MLS Next Pro Championship against Columbus Crew Two this weekend. That game is Sunday in Columbus.