Last-placed Austin FC (3-4-7, 13 points) will need to get back on track against fourth-placed Colorado Rapids (7-3-4, 24 points) at Q2 Stadium on Saturday night, before brand new additions Sebastián Driussi and Moussa Djitté come in for reinforcement.
Colorado has made a decent start to the season, but ATX will be very capable of beating this Rapids team, as they did 3-1 back in April. The Rapids are fresh off of a 3-0 loss at the hands of Real Salt Lake, and their trip to central Texas will be their third game in eight days.
Note on the opposition
The Rapids will be without a few of their star players, with Kellyn Acosta and Sam Vines representing the United States on Thursday night, and brand new signing Mark-Anthony Kaye on Gold Cup duty with Canada still. The Rapids will also be without star midfielder Younes Namli, who is still over a month away from returning from ankle surgery.
The Rapid have typically played a 4-2-3-1 this season under manager Robin Fraser, but Fraser opted for a 3-4-3 last time out. It remains to be seen if Fraser will go back to four at the back, or if he will rotate his squad, as Seattle manager Brian Schmetzer did in Sounders’ 1-0 win over Austin last week.
This season, former FC Dallas winger Michael Barrios has been the danger man for Colorado, chipping in with four goals and three assists so far in their campaign. 18-year old attacking midfielder Cole Bassett has been the other standout player for the Rapids going forward, with three goals to his name so far this season.
Other Colorado players to watch out for include Jack Price in defensive midfield, Keegan Rosenberry at right back, Diego Rubio up top, and William Yarborough, who has looked solid in net.
Austin was able to field what is close to their best XI against Seattle, despite not being able to get the job done.
There is a handful of guys out with long-term injuries, like Danny Hoesen and Nick Lima, but other than that, Dani Pereira is really the only Verde player working his way back to fitness.
Jon Gallagher made his way back from a foot injury and into the squad for the Seattle game, and he could see action from the start this time out.
With Driussi in a mandatory five-day quarantine, and Djitté still yet to arrive in Austin, head coach Josh Wolff will still not yet have a fully potent attack at his disposal.
Cecilio Dominguez is almost certain to lead the line against the Rapids, as he has done in the past handful of matches. After a solid performance against Seattle, Kekuta Manneh is likely to get the nod on the wing, and either Rodney Redes or Jared Stroud could start on the other side, but Jon Gallagher most likely will come back into the starting lineup.
The midfield three should be the same as usual, with Pereira still on the sideline. Expect to see Diego Fagundez and Tomás Pochettino lineup in midfield alongside captain Alex Ring.
Like the midfield, the back four will probably be unchanged. Žan Kolmanič, Matt Besler, Julio Cascante and Hector Jímenez will start, ahead of goalkeeper Brad Stuver.
4-3-3; GK: Brad Stuver; LB: Žan Kolmanič, LCB: Matt Besler, RCB: Julio Cascante, RB: Hector Jimenez; CDM: Alex Ring (C), CM: Diego Fagundez, CM: Tomás Pochettino; LW: Kekuta Manneh, ST: Cecilio Dominguez, RW: Jon Gallagher
Austin FC vs. Colorado Rapids at Q2 Stadium, Saturday (7/31), 8:00 p.m.
- TV: The CW Austin, UniMas Austin (Spanish)
- Streaming: Austin FC app and website
- Radio: Alt 97.5FM, TUDN Radio 104.3 (Spanish)
Going to the game? Check out these transportation options to the stadium. There’s also plenty of watch parties around town if you didn’t score tickets, but want a fun atmosphere with fellow Verde fans.
Player Injury Report (Official)
- OUT: Danny Hoesen (Left Hip)
- OUT: Aaron Schoenfeld (Left Knee)
- OUT: Ulises Segura (Left Knee)
- OUT: Ben Sweat (ACL)
- QUESTIONABLE: Dani Pereira (Abdominal strain)
- QUESTIONABLE: Nick Lima (Left Hamstring)