The Big Picture
The Colorado Rapids fought until the death in their 2022 season finale on Sunday afternoon, taking a 1-1 draw with Austin FC after Diego Rubio scored in the second half’s stoppage time to equalize with the home side.
The Burgundy Boys enter the postseason with a 11-13-10 record after tying the second-ranked Western Conference foe on their turf.
"It was a tough game for us, but I thought we really grew into the game," said head coach Robin Fraser postgame. "It took us a little while to find our feet. But I was really proud of the efforts second half. We played quite well. To give up a goal the way we did and not quit and come back and keep fighting, that's a pretty satisfying feeling to cap the year this way."
Austin saw the back of the net first in the 25th minute when a foul turned in their favor near the half. The ensuing free kick found the head of Julio Cascante, whose flick was touched on by Driussi for the opening goal. The call was overturned by VAR, however, when Driussi was seen offside as Cascante headed the ball onto his run.
Young striker Darren Yapi made his first start for the Rapids on Sunday, recording two shots over his 68 minutes played. The 17-year-old made his burgundy debut in March when the Rapids took on Sporting Kansas City at home and has since appeared ten more times on the first team’s pitch.
"Darren has been playing so well," said Fraser postgame. "I thought as he grew into the game he got better and better, making decisions, keeping attacks going... [it's] a great reward for all the work he's done all year to get to this point for the last game of the year. So I was really, really pleased."
The Rapids came dangerously close to getting on the scoreboard first, as Max recorded five shots of his own, followed by two apiece from Yapi and Lucas Esteves.
Austin and Driussi reclaimed the goal previously taken away from them late in the second half. After a missed clearance, Felipe Martins was taken down in the box for a penalty kick, which Driussi converted.
The Rapids responded with a stoppage-time goal in the 93rd minute when Michael Barrios delivered a corner deep into Austin’s box, finding the head of Lalas Abubakar. Abubakar’s drifting header gave Rubio just enough to power past Austin's Brad Stuver for the equalizer.
The striker’s last-minute header earned him his 16th goal of the season, tying him with Conor Casey for most in a single season at the Rapids.
- Rubio finished the 2022 season on a high note by tying former Rapids player and manager Conor Casey for 16 goals in a single season, a club record.
- Darren Yapi recorded his first start in MLS and played 68 minutes total before being subbed off by Gyasi Zardes.
- Abubakar’s assist marked his first in his MLS career, tallying his 2022 goal contributions to five after scoring four goals throughout the season.
- Danny Wilson earned his 100th start in burgundy on Sunday after arriving to the Rapids in 2018.