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ESPN FC  By ESPN

Austin USL team targets 2019 start despite Crew SC uncertainty

Columbus Crew SC forward Federico Higuain, says a team leaving their home city would be unthinkable in his native Argentina.

The planned United Soccer League club in Austin, Texas, has reignited plans to begin playing in 2019 despite uncertainty over Columbus Crew SC's potential move to the city.

The second-tier league and the club's ownership group confirmed the plan to the Austin American-Statesman.

The decision comes more than four months after Crew SC owner Anthony Precourt announced that he was exploring the option of moving the team to the Texas capital. If the city gained the MLS team, the USL club owners would look to relocate as well.

The USL club's plans had been on hold in those four months, but will now push forward while Precourt and his representatives struggle to find a stadium site.

"The league has told us we've got to get our franchise started or we risk losing it," Austin club owner Bobby Epstein, plans to build a 5,000-seat stadium at his Circuit of the Americas motorsports complex, told the newspaper on Monday.

USL Austin general manager Roberto Pinto da Silva Jr. said he has "been fully rooting for the Crew to come here," but the delays left his group little option.

"We were getting late for 2019. Now we're in awkward spot," he told the Statesman. "When this came about, we told USL we thought it would be resolved by January, and then we would request a move to another market.

"It just doesn't seem like the Crew are making any movement, so our focus should be on putting a team on the field."

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