The home opener is finally here! We are thrilled to welcome Austin FC to the altitude in their inaugural season in Major League Soccer.
(image: Colorado Rapids)
Press conference recap
In today’s press conference I had the opportunity to ask Head Coach Robin Fraser how training was this week and what the mood of the team is like. He had this to say: “It’s been an interesting week with snow. we’re on turf, we’re on grass. It’s 30 degrees. Sometimes its 50 and sunny. Ten minutes later its cloudy and 30. Weather here is insane. In spite of all that the spirit has been really good, we’ve had really good days of training. As we get closer we are getting sharper and sharper with the things we are trying to accomplish.”
During the press conference we also got a positive injury report although nothing definitive. Sam Vines and Lalas Abubakar are “getting closer. They’ve both made progress this week. There's a chance they could be available". So we don't really know how the team is going to lineup. If Sam Vines plays I'd expect the usual 433/4231 formation. If he doesn't start, expect it to look like last week in a 352 with Kellyn Acosta covering the left flank defensively. Based on recent history, I don't think we'll see Steven Beitashour laces up his boots and remain in the regular 433 formation.
On Austin FC
Despite playing only one game so far Fraser feels well prepared to play against Austin. Coach Fraser said “Austin is a very good team. The notion that expansion teams are behind the 8 ball is not right”. And it seems plainly obvious in their first match against LAFC that they do not play like an expansion team. Austin played an open style of play in a 433 formation in their first match. After LAFC dominated possession, Los Verdes looked tired and flat in the second half. The strategy for the Rapids could be to mimic this approach and aim for a strong start. It is also going to be very difficult for any opponent to fly in the day of the match and play at altitude.
Austin brings plenty of star power with DP Tomas Pochettino, Alex Ring, Nick Lima and . They also have a lot of young players in their squad who look hungry to make an impression. Paraguay international Cecilio Dominguez fills another DP slot. Austin FC sporting director Claudio Reyna had this to say about Dominguez "He's very intelligent, in finding spaces in the final third, and in passing. His runs off the ball are very smart. He's a team player, he's very responsible as well on the defensive side, and with him being positioned in the middle of the field, that's important".
Our HOME is OPEN again!
Dick’s Sporting Goods Park will be opening for the first time since March 7th, 2020. At 44% capacity it will be a thing of beauty to hear the Rapids faithful at full cry. The Burgundy Boys are coming off a 0-0 draw at Dallas and will be looking to grab a win and their first 3 points of the season.
We’re expecting a high of 65 degrees and partly sunny day in Colorado. As Coach Fraser pointed out, weather is crazy here, so expect it to be in the 50s by kickoff and dropping into the upper 40s by the second half.
Kickoff is at 7PM MT. Saturday’s game will be aired on Direct TV, ATT&Now and if you’re out of market on ESPN+, MLS Live and over the airwaves on 92.5FM.
Enjoy the match and GO RAPIDS!!!