COMMERCE CITY, Colo. ― The Colorado Rapids (7-4-3, 24 points) will make their first visit to Q2 Stadium to take on 2021 expansion side Austin FC (3-7-4, 13 points) on Saturday, July 31, at 7 PM. Pregame coverage will begin on Altitude Sports at 6:30 p.m. and on Altitude Sports Radio 92.5 FM at 6:45 PM.
“Austin is obviously a very good team, regardless of what their record is,” Rapids head coach Robin Fraser said. “They are extremely good in possession and make it very difficult for teams down there. I think they have a number of really good players. They’re very well-coached and very well-organized. We know it’s going to be a big challenge for us.”
This is the second meeting between these teams after the Rapids lost, 3-1, to Austin FC in the club’s home opener at DICK’S Sporting Goods Park on April 24. Andre Shinyashiki scored the first goal of the season for Colorado, heading in captain Jack Price’s corner delivery. Austin scored three goals in the second half to earn its first win ever. The Rapids are undefeated in seven home games since.
Saturday’s match will close out a six-game month of July that has seen the Rapids go 2-1-2 (W-L-D). Colorado started the month with an undefeated four-game homestand, defeating Minnesota and FC Dallas, both by 2-0 score lines, and drawing against Seattle and San Jose, both 1-1.
The Rapids made two additions to the roster this week. On Tuesday, the club announced it acquired midfielder Mark-Anthony Kaye from Los Angeles FC, and on Thursday, the club announced the return of forward Dominique Badji via trade from Nashville SC. Badji is available for selection on Saturday, while Kaye is away with the Canada Men’s National Team at the Concacaf Gold Cup.
“Mark-Anthony Kaye is a player that we’ve been looking at for quite some time,” said Pádraig Smith, Rapids Executive VP & GM. “As everybody knows now, we’re quite keen on trying to bring in players that we think are going to elevate the whole group. We always talk about winning as a team and we felt that he was a really good fit for this group. We look for him to come in and really add to what we’ve been building over the last number of years here. We targeted him for quite some time, it took a little bit longer than we wanted to get him but we’re glad to have him in at this point.”
Colorado will be without several key pieces on Saturday. In addition to Kaye, midfielder Kellyn Acosta, forward Jonathan Lewis and defender Sam Vines are all with the U.S. Men’s National Team at the Gold Cup. The UMSNT takes on Qatar in the first semifinal on Thursday (5:30 p.m. MT, FS1, Univision, TUDN), while Canada will face Mexico in the second semifinal immediately afterwards (8 p.m., FS1, Univision, TUDN). The Gold Cup Final will be played on Sunday, Aug. 1, at 6:30 p.m. MT (FS1, Univision, TUDN).
Austin has played five games at Q2 Stadium since its first home match June 19, going 1-2-2. The Texan side has scored four goals in five home games, with all of them coming in a 4-1 win over Portland on July 1. Los Verdes enter Saturday’s game having lost their previous two: a 2-0 loss against Los Angeles FC on July 7 and 1-0 defeat against Seattle on July 22, both at home.
Cecilio Domínguez and Diego Fagundez lead Austin with three goals apiece, while Jared Stroud leads the club with three assists. Goalkeeper Brad Stuver is second in MLS with 60 saves, and his .800 save percentage is the third-highest in MLS among goalkeepers with at least 10 saves. On Thursday, Austin announced it had signed midfielder Sebastián Driussi as the club’s third Designated Player, though Driussi will not be available for selection on Saturday.
This will be Colorado’s second consecutive road match. The Rapids are in the midst of a stretch of seven of 10 games on the road, hosting Sporting KC on Aug. 7 before visiting Houston and LA Galaxy in a span of four days.
“We approach every game with a strong mentality to come out strong, doing our job and playing our game,” defender Auston Trusty said. “If we do our thing, we play our game, I don’t think anyone can stop us.”
News & Notes
- Since the beginning of 2020, the Rapids have posted six clean sheets on the road, which is tied with Philadelphia for the most in MLS.
- Colorado is the only team in the Western Conference to post three clean sheets on the road this season.
- The Rapids’ next clean sheet will be their 200th all-time.
- Jack Price’s next assist will be his 26th with Colorado in MLS, tying Dillon Powers for fifth-most in club history. Price is tied for fifth in MLS this season with five assists, matching his team-leading total from 2020.
- Andre Shinyashiki’s next goal will be the 14th of his MLS career, tying M Dillon Powers for fifth-most by a Rapids SuperDraft selection.
- Michael Barrios is tied for second in MLS with three game-winning assists. The 30-year-old Colombian assisted on F Diego Rubio’s winners against Houston on May 15 and Cincinnati on June 19. Barrios also assisted on Braian Galván’s goal against Minnesota on July 7.
- Colorado has hit the woodwork seven times this season, tied for third-most in MLS.
- The Rapids will be without Kellyn Acosta, Jonathan Lewis and Sam Vines, who are all with the 23-player U.S. Men’s National Team at Concacaf Gold Cup, as well as Mark-Anthony Kaye, who is with the Canada MNT at the Gold Cup. Vines is the first Rapids Academy product to be named to the USMNT for a senior international tournament. Vines scored his first USMNT goal in the 1-0 win over Haiti in Group B action. Colorado is tied with Atlanta for the most players on the USMNT Gold Cup roster.