COMMERCE CITY, Colo. — The Colorado Rapids (0-3-1, 1pt) head to Texas in search of their first win of the season as they take on Austin FC (2-2-0, 8pts) at Q2 Stadium on Saturday, March 25, for Matchday 5 (6:30 p.m. MT; Apple TV – MLS Season Pass, Altitude Sports Radio 92.5 FM).
Colorado enters Saturday’s game following a 2-1 loss at home to Minnesota United FC over the weekend, their first defeat at DICK’S Sporting Goods Park since July 2022, as well as their first-ever loss to the Loons at home in club history. Homegrown midfielder Cole Bassett recorded his first goal in Burgundy since returning to the Rapids following his year abroad on loan in the Eredivisie with Feyenoord and Fortuna Sittard, but Minnesota found the equalizer and game-winner via a penalty kick and free kick, respectively, in the second half.
The Rapids will be without their captain and set-piece maestro, Jack Price, for the remainder of the season after the Englishman ruptured his Achilles tendon shortly after entering the match against Minnesota on Saturday as a second-half substitute. Chilean international Diego Rubio, along with U.S. U-20 international Darren Yapi, will also miss the trip to Texas as both will be with their respective national teams during this FIFA international window. Robin Fraser will be able to count on goalkeeper William Yarbrough, however, who is just two shutouts away from matching the club’s all-time record currently held by Matt Pickens (29). The two-time Liga MX champion is one appearance away from recording his 86th appearance for Colorado, which would tie him with Joe Cannon for fourth-most appearances by a goalkeeper in club history. Yarbrough has also recorded 34 wins with the Rapids, one away from tying Clint Irwin for third-most wins by a goalkeeper in club history.
Austin hosts the Rapids following a 2-0 loss on the road to Houston Dynamo FC last weekend. Defender Jon Gallagher leads his side with two goals in 2023, while six players are tied with an assist this season. Goalkeeper Brad Stuver has recorded 18 saves and a clean sheet on the year. Los Verdes recently reached an agreement with KV Kortrijk of the Belgian Jupiler Pro League to acquire defender Aleksandar Radovanović on loan. Rapids goalkeeper Marko Ilić is currently on loan with Colorado from KV Kortrijk.
Current Austin forward Gyasi Zardes faces the Rapids for the first time since joining Los Verdes as a free agent this past offseason. Zardes previously spent the majority of 2022 with the Rapids, etching his name in MLS history as he recorded his fifth season with double-digit goals (2014, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2022) and became the 14th player in MLS history to accomplish that feat, while he also became the 13th player in MLS history to score 90 or more regular-season goals all-time and the first MLS Homegrown Player to reach that mark. On the bench, Austin FC goalkeeper coach Preston Burpo made 24 appearances between the sticks for Colorado during the 2008-09 seasons, recording four shutouts in that span.
The Rapids have not seen defeat in their only two trips to Q2 Stadium since Austin joined MLS in 2021. Colorado came away with a 1-0 win in their first-ever visit in July 2021 before rallying to a last-gasp draw in their final game of the regular season last year. That match saw Diego Rubio tie the club’s single-season goalscoring record when he collected his 16th goal of the season, finishing the year with the most goals + assists in a single season in club history (23). The match also saw forward Darren Yapi record his first MLS start, while defender Keegan Rosenberry surpassed 10,000 minutes as a member of the club.