Austin FC II won the 2023 MLS NEXT Pro Western Conference Final on Sunday night against Colorado Rapids 2 at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. The match was played to a 0-0 draw after 120 minutes and ATXFC II prevailed in the ensuing shootout 4-1. The Verde & Black will now face Columbus Crew 2 in the 2023 MLS NEXT Pro Cup on Sunday, October 22 at Lower.com Field.
Austin’s first chance of the match came in the 26th minute when Charlie Asensio’s cross landed with Bobosi Byaruhanga in the box. Byaruhanga was able to poke a shot on target, but the ball ended up in the hands of Rapids 2 goalkeeper Abraham Rodriguez. Damian Las, Austin's 2023 MLS NEXT Pro Goalkeeper of the Year, made two diving saves in the first half to keep the score level heading into halftime.
After a couple of Rapids 2 tackles in the box in the 89th minute, Valentin Noël curved his shot on target, forcing a diving save from Rodriguez. Cheick Touré missed the rebound opportunity by sending his shot over the crossbar, leading the match to two 15-minute periods of extra time.
In the 119th minute, CJ Fodrey played the ball in to Byaruhanga, who controlled it near the six-yard box but saw his shot blocked by Rodriguez, forcing the match to penalty kicks.
In the shootout, Joe Hafferty, Alonso Ramírez, Jonathan Santillan, and Noël all converted their attempts for ATXFC II while Las made two saves to send the Verde & Black to the 2023 MLS NEXT Pro Cup.
Austin FC II will play in the 2023 MLS NEXT Pro Cup against Columbus Crew 2 on Sunday, October 22 at 4 p.m. CT at Lower.com Field.