Aztex Earn Playoff Spot
The Austin Aztex had a great week, scorching the West Texas Sockers 7-0 in their home finale Friday night. Then they hopped a bus for El Paso, where a hard-fought 1-0 win over the Patriots on Sunday clinched a spot in the Premier Development League playoffs for the first-year franchise – now riding a five-game winning streak into the final game of the regular season, Saturday in New Orleans. It's still unclear who they'll face in the playoffs, and where (see our Sports blog, The Score, where I sort out the scenarios), but here's what we do know: The Aztex open the playoffs the weekend after next, July 20-22, in a four-team Southern Conference regional – likely in Florida, but possibly here at House Park. And here's where it gets interesting: If the games are in Austin, our likely first-round opponent will be Orlando City U23 – farm team to the Orlando City pro team that started as the original Austin Aztex. It's a matchup the team and their fans would dearly love to see; circle the date (in pencil) on your calendar: Friday, July 20.
Or not. It all depends on results around the league this weekend; I'll have nightly updates posted on The Score, Thursday through Sunday.
Friday's game was the Aztex's second 7-0 win of the season, to go with a pair of 6-1 romps... The Aztex's 40 goals on the year leads the entire 73-team league, as does their +28 goal differential... Kris Tyrpak's hat trick Friday gives him 10 goals for the season, tied with Kekuta Manneh for the team lead. Tyrpak was named the team's outstanding player at the season-end party Tuesday night; Zack Pope won the team's citizenship award, named after team owner David Markley... Bonus good news: The Aztex playoff spot also earns them an entry into next year's U.S. Open Cup, the national competition that involves every U.S. pro team up through Major League Soccer, plus the top qualifying amateur teams. A chance to host the Houston Dynamo at House Park? Priceless.