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Rapids conclude uninspiring 2022 season in a knot

Diego Rubio scores in stoppage time to tie playoffs-bound Austin. Rapids return home to reinvent.

MLS: Colorado Rapids at Austin FC Scott Wachter-USA TODAY Sports

With seconds to spare in overtime, Colorado Rapids’ forward Diego Rubio leapt up like a gazelle, and used his head to score and tie an enviable Austin team that is heading into the MLS Playoffs. The outcome was a conciliation prize for the team and a milestone for Rubio, who scored a career-high 16 goals in a single season.

When the final whistle blew and the Burgundy Boys high-hopes 2022 campaign formally concluded, the wasted season was tossed in the privy and finally flushed away.

Good riddance and never again in the lifetime of today’s loyal fans.

The tight game from the get-go was played in front of 20,000-plus ballistic crowd. It remained tied up until the 80th minute of play when Rapids’ midfielder, Bryan Acosta, took out Austin’s Felipe Martins inside the 18-yard box.

A foul was called, and Sebastian Driussi was sent to the penalty spot. He proceeded to score with ease.

Twelve minutes later, it was Rubio’s turn to respond. A set-piece kick by Michael Barrios delivered the ball to the far side of the box. The ball found the head of Lalas Abubakar, who lobbed it toward the mouth of the goal. Rubio launched skyward to meet it and knock it in with his forehead.

Altitude Sports Television broadcasters Richard Fleming and Marcelo Balboa made the call-

Rapids’ skipper Robin Fraser summed up the match during his post-game meeting with media, ”Big for us to end on a decent note and for us to have one loss in our last six games, I’m really proud of how the team finished.” He added, ”Obviously, we feel like we’re better than where we are in the standings, but it is what it is, and for us, we really wanted to make sure that we finished with a proper performance, and I thought tonight was exactly that.”

Rubio took the mic and reflected on the goal and his hyper-productive season, “I always say that I think about the team, about winning, and saying that I scored this goal and it’s a tie, it’s a point against a good team, it’s a good goal. And knowing that it’s a record, tying with the legend Conor Casey, it’s great to be with that guy, you know, with the ex-coach.” The Chilean continued, “He was almost like a friend to us… it’s great to be at his level. Just need to be champions to be with him, at his level, so I hope that is coming next year.”

Instead of looking forward to participating in the playoffs again, another cycle of roster-remodeling in the team’s clubhouse and front offices will soon officially kick off, if it hasn’t already.

The Rapids will miss the postseason for the first time since 2019. They wrapped up the 2022 season, placing 10th in the Western Conference.

Last season, they finished first.