Match Report: Rapids Lose Home Opener On Fans' Return
Colorado Rapids 1-3 Austin FC
DICK’S Sporting Goods Park, Commerce City, CO
Saturday, April 24
By Richard Fleming
Fans returned to DICK’S Sporting Goods Park for the first time in more than a year, only to witness a tepid display from the Rapids as they were undone by the new boys from Austin FC.
Andre Shinyashiki headed home a Jack Price corner in the first half, yet head coach Robin Fraser appeared less than happy with his team’s performance when he spoke with Altitude TV's Lauren Jbara at the interval. The second half collapse will have done little to improve his mood.
Fraser cut a frustrated figure on the sidelines as Austin’s pressing game disrupted any rhythm his Rapids sought to muster. And, far from flagging after the interval, Austin kept on pushing.
Their perseverance was rewarded on 59 minutes when an unmarked Diego Fagundez popped the ball beyond William Yarbrough from close range for a first goal in franchise history.
Within 12 minutes, the Rapids were 3-1 down and the game was over. First Cecilio Dominguez made the most of a slip by Danny Wilson, after Cole Bassett had been too easily dispossessed, to rifle in number two. The Paraguayan Designated Player doubled his tally moments later when his shot ricocheted off Wilson and past the outstretched arm of Yarbrough.
Words were in short supply postgame from the Rapids camp.
Fraser said: “Not really a whole lot to say. I didn’t think we played particularly well tonight. Austin is a good team, and a good possession team. Part of the way to deal with them is that we had to be good on the ball and tonight we weren’t.”
The Rapids’ main threat came from set pieces, though – outside of Shinyashiki’s goal – they were unable to pose more problems from the 11 corner kicks. Chances from open play were few and far between. Passes were erratic. On the whole, Austin played with greater intensity.
Shinyashiki told reporters afterwards: “I’m upset because we lost the game and there’s not much else to say. You’re going to ask if I feel good about scoring a goal – no, I don’t. At the end of the day, we lost the game at home and that’s it.”
The Rapids went into the game unchanged from the goalless draw at FC Dallas, with Lalas Abubakar and Sam Vines still missing from the back line. They also added Steven Beitashour to the injury list. His absence meant Sebastian Anderson was recalled from his loan spell with Colorado Springs Switchbacks and duly took his place on the bench.
Austin lost defender Ben Sweat to injury in the first half. The fullback was stretchered off after twisting awkwardly. His replacement, Žan Kolmanič, delivered some dangerous balls into the box, which Auston Trusty was forced to deal with.
But it was the intensity Austin played with. They pressed and pushed the Rapids, in a way that few sides have done so at altitude. The expected drop-off from the visitors never materialized as the second half wore on. Frustration crept in, and there were some chippy moments.
Price was venting at the referee, who allowed a few challenges to slide. Diego Rubio had offered his thoughts on treatment received. Even the usually mild-mannered Fraser was questioning the Fourth Official about some of the on-field decisions.
Most disappointing of all was this was a performance played out in front of the returning fans, something Fraser commented on afterwards: “I certainly wish we would’ve given them a better performance.
"We’ve talked about playing for our fans for a while now and not having them here was certainly something that we missed, and I was looking forward to having them back.”
The Rapids head out on the road next weekend when they take on Vancouver Whitecaps.
Colorado Rapids: William Yarbrough, Keegan Rosenberry, Auston Trusty, Danny Wilson, Kellyn Acosta; Younes Namli, Jack Price, Cole Bassett (Nicolas Mezquida 72’); Michael Barrios (Jonathan Lewis 66'), Diego Rubio, Andre Shinyashiki (Nicolas Benezet 72’). Subs not used: Clint Irwin, Drew Moor, Oliver Larraz, Collen Warner, Sebastian Anderson, Darren Yapi.
Austin FC: Brad Stuver; Nick Lima, Jhohan Romaña, Julio Cascante, Ben Sweat (Zan Kolmanic 23’); Diego Fagundez (Sebastian Berhalter 84’), Daniel Pereira, Alexander Ring; Jared Stroud (Rodney Redes 67’), Danny Hoesen (Jon Gallagher 66’), Cecilio Domínguez (Kekuta Manneh 85’). Subs not used: Hector Jimenez, Andrew Tarbell, Freddy Kleemann.