Tue, 06 Jun 2023

Exhausted Austin FC ready to face winless Rapids

Field Level Media
25 Mar 2023, 11:19 GMT+10

Austin FC will be on the hunt for some consistency on the front end when they host the winless Colorado Rapids on Saturday in a Western Conference match.

Austin (2-2-0, six points) heads home after a grueling stretch of five matches over a period 15 days that ended with a 2-0 loss in Houston to the Dynamo on March 18. Austin also played at Real Salt Lake (where it won) and in the Dominican Republic against Haitian side Violette.

The past week was the first time in March that Austin has a full preparation for an opponent and to rest its collective legs. After the match against the Rapids, Austin will have a bye week.

As expected, Austin has been led this season by Sebastian Driussi's three goals in five games across MLS and CONCACAF Champions League matches. Emiliano Rigoni has yet to find the net but leads the team in both key passes and chances created.

The sooner Rigoni gets in the scoring column, the better for Austin. He has not scored in his 16 straight appearances since arriving in Austin last August for a $4 million transfer fee.

"I'd say he's our most consistent guy at getting in great spots ... the sooner he breaks the seal, it'll be good for all of us," Austin coach Josh Wolff said. "He needs that validation for himself right now, more than anything."

Leo Vaisanen (Finland) and Owen Wolff (United States U-20 team) will miss the Colorado match after earning national call-ups.

The Rapids (0-3-1, one point) head to Austin after a 2-1 loss at home to Minnesota on March 18. Colorado has lost two straight games and is off to its worst start in club history after four matches; the Rapids have never lost three straight games with Robin Fraser as coach.

"We have good moments within games where attacks are good and we can put the team on their heels and create some half chances or create some chances," Fraser said. "But by the same token, if we turn the ball over in the middle of the field as we're opening up and expose ourselves, then it becomes difficult."

Homegrown player Cole Bassett had Colorado's lone goal in the loss. The tally was the Rapids' first of the season and in the 319th minute of league play.

Colorado will be missing some key players as well, with Diego Rubio (the team's leading scorer in 2022) with his national team in Chile and forward Darren Yapi with the U.S. U-20 team. Midfielder Jack Price, the team's captain, tore his Achilles tendon injury last Saturday against Minnesota and will be lost for the season.

--Field Level Media

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