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Hokies’ Pereira starts in Austin FC’s MLS debut

The former Virginia Tech midfielder star made his professional debut.

MLS: Austin FC at Los Angeles FC Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

For a lot of people, if you’ve heard of Austin FC, Major League Soccer’s newest club, it’s probably because of their most famous owner — Matthew McConaughey. But for the Virginia Tech alumni base, Austin FC is the club that used the #1 draft pick in the 2021 MLS Draft to select the Hokies standout midfielder, Daniel Pereira. After two seasons in Blacksburg, Pereira opted to turn pro and became the first Virginia Tech player and Venezuelan to top an MLS draft class. On Saturday, Austin FC made its debut as MLS kicked off its 2021 season.

Pereira had a strong debut, playing in the Austin midfield. He completed 90% of his passes (37), had the second most successful tackles in the match, and two successful dribbles past LAFC players. Daniel went the full 90 minutes, which is a strong sign of how highly the coaching staff rates the young midfielder. Against such a strong opponent and in a crucial position, they were confident in his ability and fitness.

Despite being an expansion side, in their first match, at the home of one of the title favorites, Austin FC were in the match until the final minutes when Jose Cifuentes secured the three points for the hosts.

The club is currently starting its debut season on the road while the finishing touches are being put in place on their brand-new 20,500-seat soccer-specific stadium. Austin FC expects to debut their new home in June. Here’s a look at the impressive green fortress.

It wasn’t the start Austin FC or Pereira would have wanted, but it was a strong display against one of the league’s top teams. Their next match is Saturday (4/24) as they travel to face the Colorado Rapids. You can catch the Hokie alum at 9 pm ET on ESPN+. Best of luck to Daniel as he embarks on his first professional season.