After five draws in six games, the Colorado Rapids got a big win and three points against Austin FC on Wednesday night. The Burgundy Boys are still in third place in the Western Conference, but now sit just one point behind second-place Sporting Kansas City, with a healthy five-point lead (and game in hand) over fourth-place Portland Timbers.
Though Colorado dominated the first half, it took until the final moments of the first half to get a goal. Initially deemed an own-goal as it deflected off of Austin’s Nick Lima, Jonathan Lewis ultimately got credit for the strike.
From there, the Rapids never looked back. The momentum carried into the second half and Nicolas Mezquida doubled the lead less than 30 seconds in.
Scoring his first goal in burgundy, Auston Trusty put the nail in the coffin off of — what else — a Jack Price corner kick in the 57th minute.
Price tallied two assists that night, bringing his season total to 11, a club record. William Yarbrough, who went down with an injury and later needed his knee taped, earned his 11th shutout of the season — tying the league lead and also setting a single-season individual club record. The Rapids are now unbeaten in 12 games overall and unbeaten in 13 at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park.
As they come up on a busy October with seven games, squad rotation and depth will be key. After the match, Head Coach Robin Fraser admitted that the next four weeks are going to be tough but is confident in the group.
“We have a lot of really good players, and when we make changes, it’s really ultimately to have everyone be healthy at the end and give us the best possible opportunity to have selections at the end of the year while still gaining points,” he said. “We have so much confidence in our roster top to bottom that when we do rotate the way we do, today it looked a little bit different from the beginning. But if you look at how much we’ve substituted over the last five or six, six or seven games, we just have a lot of belief in the whole group and it’s exciting to know that we can make changes and our game still looks the same. At times we make changes and we increase our tempo. So that sort of competition within training is only making us better and what we’re seeing on the weekend is a result of that—the fact that we can make changes and either keep the tempo going or pick the tempo up.”
Yarbrough added: “Like I say, these 11 clean sheets is 100 percent a team effort. Not only the 11 players, but the subs coming on. You’ve seen it in every game. They come on locked in knowing what they need to do defensively, set pieces, it’s just a product of the work we put in day in and day out and the concentration and the attention to detail of what Robin asks of us.”