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It can't get any worse, can it? Austin FC Preview of Rapids

Austin went out and got themselves a Centerback! But, if we're being honest here, this dude better not see the field. As we've seen with signings (even Driussi) Wolff doesn't introduce new blood for weeks. We won't see him this weekend. By the time he's ready, Cascante should be rounding into playing form, and frankly, this dude cannot be much better than Keller or Tarek.

Radovanovic in on loan from Kortrijk FC in Belgium. This dude isn't finding the field in a bottom table team in Belgium. Those bottom feeders in Belgium are worse than the average MLS squad. This guy is break in case of emergency at best. A reactionary move, with not future in mind. This feels pointless, and a waste of resources.

Speaking of reactionary, Austin fans have been in a panic this week. The failures against Violette and Houston have everyone on edge, and understandably. People are reaching for ways to explain the failures. Complaints about formation, about Rigoni, and calling for Wolff's head. Are they valid arguments? No. Mostly just hot headed takes, but this fanbase is passionate, and they expect greatness. And this week we have... the opposite of greatness. The leader in the Wooden Spoon race, with a firm grip and splinters in their fingers: COLORADO RAPIDS FC UNION!

Previews are just notes I've made while half watching the previous game of the opponent. Do not take these repsesentations as fact, but I kinda watched them, so I know a little bit.

  • Their defensive line sat pretty high against Minnesota, particularly when Minnesota had the ball in the Colorado half of the pitch. Minnesota should have scored on a wonderful cross into the box, specifically because of this high line. It allowed a run from the Minnesota striker to get behind. This screams as an oppertunity for Zardes to get his first goal, and against his former team no-less. Also, all these Rigoni crosses should hopefully pay off on Saturday as well.

  • This Colorado team is... dreadful. Houston is light-years better. Just bafoonery after bafoonery from them. Sloppy passes. No connection between the back line and the front line. There was a play where their Fullback got possession and cleared it right into a Minnesota player who was literally feet in front of him. Their keeper skipped a ball between two Minnesota forwards to a fully covered midfielder, and they DIDN'T turn it over in this miracle event. This team looks awful.

  • If the above bullet point doesn't give you confidence, then this should. Colorado lost their most important player to an ACL tear last week. Their most promising player is off with the U-20 team with Owen. This team is really bad, and they're even worse this week. There's no excuses. Anything but 3 points here is grounds for:

  • Just one concern. Pressure. This team is in desperate need of a win. We're back home, and this Rapids team is broken and injured. I don't expect this team to take this game lightly after the last week of fixtures, but... BUT... The pressure will be on. If we continue to struggle to get the ball in the net, Austin will force players forward. This Colorado team doesn't counter attack with menace, but it's for that reason I could see us underestimate them and get out of balance defensively.

    • I've been watching a lot of March Madness the last few weeks, and the thing that makes that tournament so great is watching favored teams start to wilt when the underdog is keeping it close. Keeping composure in these moments are key to overcoming an underdog. The over-reaction by coaches and players is what sinks these teams. JUST THROW IT TO THE POST AND LET HIM WORK. If we stick with what we do best, it will work (Just like against Montreal). We have to beleive it will work, but if it isn't, we can't try to change what we do. You have to stay confident and trust the process.

What to watch for:
  • What is Fagundez going to do after being called out? He seemed to take responsibility in the media, but will he do it on the pitch. This team has been awful at the left wing spot. If we continue to get a nothing, it won't matter how good Zardes or Rigoni are. This team will not elevate to its ceiling.

  • Who's going to replace our two National team stars?

    • Last week Valencia started for Owen. I expect the same, since Wolff seems to rate Valencia, but I really hope we get Djeffal. His progressive passing is so much better than Valencia, and scoring is a premium for this team right now. But, well, you know, we're out a...

    • Leo Väisänen is starting for Finland this weekend. He's such a good Centerback, and I'm super proud of this guy already. But we're fucked. I've seen some proposals suggesting three at the back, which is really just Lima at CB. I've seen people sliding Keller into the other CB spot (that's not happening now). I'm up for anything, but I think it could be a nightmare of us. I like our midfield depth, but we have literally no one to replace Leo. Does Tarek get another shot? God, I hope not, but is there really another option?

  • I hope this game is a blowout, and the real thing to watch for is Austin FC II. I'm so excited for this club. Getting reps for Keller, Fordey and our young star Michah Burton. Honestly, the game against Colordao only makes me nervous. Maybe I'm just an Austin FC II fan now. No pressure in watching guys develop.

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