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Soccer Watch

Amobi Okugo
Amobi Okugo (Photo by Paul K. Bordovsky)

Central defender Amobi Okugo has been a rock all season for Austin Bold FC, but he doesn't get forward very often; he's taken only six shots all season while playing in every game and leading the team in minutes played. But last Saturday, he scored his first two goals of the season, on his only touches in the offensive third, as the Bold came from behind twice to earn a tough 2-2 road draw at fifth-place New Mexico, maintaining their hold on fourth place in the USL West and a potential home playoff game. To stay there, they'll likely need a win this Saturday over LA Galaxy II, who are themselves sitting in the 10th and final playoff spot, just four points behind the Bold. That's Sat., Aug. 10, 7:30pm; see AustinBoldFC.com for tickets.

Saturday is also Military Knight: A partnership with Knights of the Grail, an equine therapy program for veterans, promises "medieval characters and ... animals ... roaming the grand plaza" at Circuit of the Americas. Free tickets to military personnel through VetTix.org.

The Austin Soccer Foundation's 2019 Soccer Awards Gala is next Thursday, Aug. 15, at the LINE Hotel in Downtown Austin (111 E. Cesar Chavez). It's a great group that supports the local community with a focus on player, field, and referee development; provides annual scholarships to graduating high school seniors; and recently funded a new futsal court at the IDEA Montopolis school campus. The keynote speaker will be Ismail Elfath. One of only seven FIFA referees in the U.S., Elfath made his debut calling an Austin Aztex game in 2009 and worked his way up to being in charge of the 2019 FIFA U-20 World Cup Final in Poland. Get more info and $125 tickets at AustinSoccerFoundation.org.

I got an early peek this week at the Austin FC Experience Center, which included a 360-degree video tour of the stadium: from general seating, to club rooms and bar areas, to luxury boxes, plus a cool 3D model of the site. Presented by ticket sponsor SeatGeek at the Austin FC offices on Kramer Lane, it'll open to supporters who placed deposits over the next few months, and it certainly makes a March 2021 opening date for MLS in Austin seem more real.

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