AUSTIN (KXAN) — The winless Colorado Rapids were banging on Austin FC’s door for nearly the entire match, and then it finally opened.
While still winless, the Rapids salvaged a draw after Kevin Cabral scored in the 85th minute to end the match 1-1 Saturday at Q2 Stadium.
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Colorado outshot Austin FC in total 17-7 and 8-3 with shots on goal. Austin FC did well to keep a second goal from going in as the Rapid’s ended the match with 2.1 expected goals, a metric used to predict goals using historical data on goals from similar shots.
Austin FC head coach Josh Wolff said he had to “piece together” a back defensive line without a true center back due to Julio Cascante’s injury and not having Leo Väisänen available for the match. Väisänen is on international duty with Finland’s national team at the Euro qualifiers.
Nick Lima and Alex Ring have had to fill in at the position, and Lima is playing through a high ankle sprain he’s had since the first leg of the Violette AC Concacaf Champions League opening round.
“You could see we fatigued and looked tired as the game went on,” Wolff said. “Colorado is physical and they make it tough. It’s not what we ideally want, but it’s what we have right now. I thought the guys were gutsy and gritty, and I like how our guys dug in and kept them off the board on set pieces.”
Austin FC defender Jon Gallagher scored his third goal of the season just five minutes into the match, converting a terrific diagonal pass from Sebastian Driussi. Gallagher was initially ruled offside by the assistant referee, but the center referee went to VAR for review and it found Gallagher to be perfectly in line with the Rapids back line as the pass was made. Gallagher’s left-footed shot slid by Colorado goalkeeper William Yarbrough for an early 1-0 lead.
The goal held up for the next 80 minutes as Austin FC goalkeeper Brad Stuver withstood a barrage of shots. Stuver made tremendous saves in the 66th and 67th to keep the match in Verde’s favor. He swiped away a ball that appeared to be a cross, but it started to swing near the crossbar, and then on the ensuing corner kick he stopped Danny Wilson’s header from inside the 6-yard box.
“Brad needed to be good tonight,” Wolff said. “He was strong, no doubt about it. He came up big.”
Two minutes before Colorado equalized, Stuver was called on again in the 83rd minute. He got his foot to a shot by Rapids substitute Michael Barrios and redirected it out to touch, but the dam broke shortly thereafter.
Barrios fed Cabral with a beautiful ball into the penalty area, and Cabral finished it with some pace to get it by Stuver.
Wolff said he felt it was fortunate that the game ended in a tie.
“It wasn’t our best performance by any stretch of the imagination,” Wolff said. “We haven’t sustained attacks well enough like we did last year, so we’ve got to do a better job with that.”
Driussi had a go on a free kick two minutes into second-half stoppage time, but his shot sailed just over the bar.
Austin FC connected on just 8.7% of their 22 crosses while holding 53% of the game’s possession.
Austin (2-2-1, 7 points) has next week off and get back on the pitch April 8 on the road against LAFC. Colorado (0-3-2, 2 points) hosts LAFC on April 1.