Austin FC II will face Colorado Rapids 2 in the 2023 MLS NEXT Pro Western Conference Final on Sunday, October 15 at 8:30 p.m. CT at DICK’S Sporting Goods Park.
Austin and Colorado faced off three times during the regular season. Rapids 2 won the first match on their home field 1-0 on May 14. The second contest featured a 3-3 draw on July 23, also in Colorado. The final match was held in Austin where Rapids 2 won 2-1 on September 15.
Austin FC II's Outlook
ATXFC II has set its sights on reaching the 2023 MLS NEXT Pro Cup in their first season in MLS NEXT Pro. They must first defeat Colorado Rapids 2, a task they haven't accomplished in their previous three attempts.
The Verde & Black secured a 1-0 victory over Tacoma Defiance in the Western Conference Semifinal, thanks to Valentin Noël's 82nd minute goal and Damian Las’ two saves. Their impressive defensive performance in this match marked the team’s second consecutive clean sheet of the playoffs.
Now, ATXFC II is preparing for their third visit to Colorado to face the Rapids 2, hoping to win their first match in the Centennial State. The Verde & Black will have to put on another strong defensive display, as the Rapids 2 topped the league in goals scored with 70 this season.
Colorado Rapids 2 Outlook
Rapids 2 earned the top seed in the 2023 MLS NEXT Pro Playoffs with 19 wins, 5 draws, and 4 losses. Three Colorado players were named in the 2023 MLS NEXT Pro Best XI: Rémi Cabral, Yosuke Hanya, and Oliver Larraz. All three players are known for their attacking prowess, with Cabral tying for the league lead in goals this season with 19 goals in 21 appearances. Hanya contributed 13 goals and nine assists, while Larraz added 17 goal contributions.
Colorado received a first-round bye in the playoffs and then secured a 1-0 victory over Earthquakes II to advance to the Western Conference Final. Rapids 2's win was thanks to Darren Yapi's 84th minute shot from outside the box.
During the regular season, the Colorado Rapids 2 tied a league-best with nine home wins and haven't lost at home since August 9. If they win against ATXFC II, they would earn the opportunity to host the MLS NEXT Pro Cup on their home field.
How to Watch
The match will be available to watch on the Apple TV app to MLS Season Pass subscribers.