It took Kévin Cabral only three minutes from when he stepped onto Austin FC's pitch to find the equalizer the Rapids needed for a point on the road, marking his first in a Colorado kit. The French striker took only one shot on goal on Saturday, but it was enough to spark confidence in the young player's attack that will last well into the 2023 season.
Colorado had been knocking on Austin’s door for the majority of the game, putting set pieces into the box and finding promising opportunities, but it was Michael Barrios and Cabral’s combined effort that sent the Rapids home with a hard-earned point on the road.
“I’m really happy to finally get my first goal for the Colorado Rapids,” Cabral said after the match. “Hopefully I’ll try my best to score goals or [get] some assists to get in our objective for the team, to get to the playoffs, and I hope I score a lot of goals.”
In the 85th minute, Bryan Acosta tracked back to force a turnover from Sebastián Driussi in the Rapids’ half before delivering a long ball to Barrios on the right wing. Barrios quickly took the pass in stride, dribbling into the box and beating defender Alexander Ring before seeing Cabral unmarked at the top of the six. Goalkeeper Brad Stuver had seven saves on the night already, but Cabral’s one-touch, far-post shot was no match for Austin’s last line of defense.
Barrios' assist was his 60th in his MLS career, and marked his second consecutive match of the season with an assist.
Cabral and Barrios found themselves in a similar position just mere minutes before the equalizer, as the Colombian took Stuver on himself at the near post, only to be denied. Barrios’ glance to Cabral in the 85th minute was the final piece Colorado needed to finally turn what head coach Robin Fraser has dubbed a “half-chance” into a point on the board this season.
“I'm really happy for Kévin,” Fraser said after the draw. “Obviously, we have a lot of attacking players. There's a lot of competition for positions, but he has, since about the third week of preseason, really been picking up and coming along. And he works hard every day, patiently waits for his chance and gets in and makes a big difference for us.”
The Rapids’ depth on the front line challenged Stuver throughout the match, putting up 17 shots total.
“We got a lot of shots on the goalie, he had a good game, and I thought we could score more than one," Cabral said. “But when it's enough to get one point on an away game, it’s important.”
Fraser has high hopes for the potential of the 23-year-old striker as the season continues, citing Cabral’s tenacity in the box.
“It's really about his willingness and desire to get in front of the goal, not just on the one he scored, or the one chance that we had before where Mikey broke through,” he said. “[Kévin’s] in good spots, and he's committed to getting there and everything you see in his play is very committed to getting a goal.”