COMMERCE CITY, Colo. – Colorado Rapids hosted Austin FC in the second week of the 2021 MLS season on Saturday night. It was the Rapids home opener and their first game with fans in attendance at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in over 13 months. Approximately 200 away supporters eagerly traveled to potentially see the first Austin FC win.
Fagundez and Domínguez Spark Comeback, First Austin FC win
The first half was played at a frenetic pace. Both teams were comfortable in transition. Colorado went for low crosses just outside the box while Austin tried to cross the ball in from distance right in front of goalkeeper William Yarbrough. Cecilio Domínguez was the danger man for Verde in that regard.
Austin had to make a sub just 23 minutes in when outside back Ben Sweat went down with an apparent serious leg injury. He was stretchered off. Žan Kolmanič subbed in for him.
Diego Rubio nearly took the lead on 32 minutes. Michael Barrios found him in stride in transition after getting the ball in space. He attempted to chip goalkeeper Brad Struver, but was denied.
Andre Shinyashiki made it 1-0 on 36 minutes. He headed down a corner from Price and inside the far post. Daniel Pereira had the best chance for Austin just before halftime with a shot from the top of the box but he shot it right at Yarbrough.
Austin came out invigorated in the second half. Minutes in, Domínguez put a set piece off the post. Diego Fagundez scored the first goal in Austin FC history, with a tap in after a low cross in the six yard box got deflected.
Domínguez made it 2-1 Austin in the 67th minute. Keegan Rosenberry was turned over in the final third. Some cutting passing gave Rodney Reyes a chance to shoot. Danny Wilson intercepted and Domínguez was right there to curl the ball into the far corner.
Domínguez made it 3-1 on 71 minutes. Kolmanič found space in transition. A pass to the top of the box saw Redes lay the ball on a platter for Domínguez to finish. The match ended 3-1.
THIS. RIGHT. HERE.
History for our Club. History for the ATX. pic.twitter.com/FepuI4pgVx
— Austin FC (@AustinFC) April 25, 2021
Three Key Takeaways:
Rapids emergency defending: The second half was all about transition moments and emergency defending. Austin was great at creating turnovers and passing to open the Rapids up. Colorado on the other end struggled with emergency defending and second chances. That decided the game.
Fagundez starts it, Cecilio finishes: Austin struggled going forward in the first half. They needed a spark and Fagundez provided that as they were quicker and more direct. Domínguez showed his quality in the buildup and finishes of his two goals.
Set Piece Kings: The Rapids again staked their claim for being the best set piece takers in the league. Shinyashiki got his first goal of the season and deserved it with his position and the finish.