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Rapids see early fireworks wash away to another loss

John Babiak

A warm, breezy night welcomed Austin FC to Dick’s Sporting Goods Park for the battle on the 4th. The Colorado Rapids missed Captain Jack Price for the second match with a leg injury, however keeper William Yarbrough was cleared for his return to the pitch.

Colorado had a nice-looking buildup in the 8th minute as Diego Rubio crossed to Jonathan Lewis on the left. He left a ball for Lucas Estevez, but his attempted square ball into the penalty area for Gyassi Zardes was knocked away.

Lewis again had a good look at the Austin FC goal as he latched onto a loose ball in the middle of the 18yd box. His low shot was again deflected by a swarm of defenders. A deep freekick from the right allowed Keegan Rosenberry to deliver a perfect cross to the far post. Lalas Abubakar pushing up, directed his header just above the crossbar as Colorado continued to apply increased pressure

The 19th minute finally saw the Rapids breakthrough with a terrific run behind the play from Abubakar on another freekick situation. The lofted ball went to the right post, where a lunging foot from the defender beat Brad Stuver across his goal to the far post and the 1-0 lead.

Lewis made another of his blistering runs behind the defense in the 22nd minute onto a fantastic long ball. He patiently carried into Austin’s box and cheekily chipped Stuver for a second on the night for the Rapids.

However, in the 28th minute, things began to unravel as a miscommunication at the back cost Colorado their 2-goal cushion on a long ball over the top. Danny Wilson ducked to leave it for a teammate, but no one was in between for cover, and Ethan Findlay got there first to chip Yarbrough and half the score.

Colorado continued to push with some fine balls across Austin’s defensive line and more work from Lewis down the flank. A fantastic control and cross by Rosenberry found the feet of Lewis at the far side of the box in the 38th minute. A quick cutback and shot destined for the far post was knicked away for a corner kick. On the ensuing play, the ball fell out top for Estevez from distance, but his blast whistled just wide of the far post yet again.

Disaster followed right on the stroke of halftime for Colorado after another miscommunication in front of Yarbrough took disappointment into the locker room. Another lofted ball into the box fell right to the foot of Sebastian Driussi in front of Mark-Anthony Kaye and Auston Trusty and was tipped home for the equalizer and a new ballgame.

The second half looked to have begun to slide even further for Colorado as the ball that just couldn’t be cleared from danger in the 52nd minute was hammered into the Rapids goal. However, after a VAR check, the go-ahead goal was disallowed, and most of the stands howled in approval.

That relief didn’t last long as Austin took the lead in the 59th minute via a Max Urruti strike. A low cross from the right was dummied for Urruti to easily slot past a helpless Yarbrough and the comeback lead.

Rapids Head Coach Robin Fraser wasn’t about to settle for the loss without a battle. Michael Barrios subbed in for defender Wilson in an attempt to pull back even. It almost immediately looked like a genius move as Zardes broke down the left and slipped a perfect ball for Barrios at the far post. The point-blank save by Stuver ruined the move, though.

Abubakar once again had a chance to play the hero in the 73rd minute on another solid Colorado corner kick, but this time the left near post denied him his goal, and Colorado continued to attack late. Luck went their way as Austin FC was taken down to 10 men after a red card and kept the crowd into the match as rain began to fall, as did the Rapids 3-2.