COLPreview

Austin FC will wrap up its 2022 MLS regular season at home on Sunday night against the Colorado Rapids. Already locked in to second place in the Western Conference, the team will still be hungry to enter the postseason on a high note despite the fact they won’t be playing for playoff positioning.

Austin FC Outlook

Austin FC is guaranteed a home playoff match in the first round next week (and in the second round should they progress past their first opponent), but there’s still plenty of motivation to perform well and get a win in the season finale. Aside from building momentum ahead of a run toward MLS Cup, at stake on Sunday is the MLS Golden Boot, which Sebastián Driussi would likely need to score a hat trick to claim. The MVP candidate has 21 goals and seven assists on the season.

The Verde & Black can also set the record for the biggest points improvement from Year 1 to Year 2 for an expansion team. A win would mean Austin finishes the 2022 season with 27 more points than it did in 2021, beating the current record of a 25-point improvement.

The previous meeting between Austin and Colorado this season went Austin’s way, with goals from Ethan Finlay, Sebastián Driussi, and Maxi Urruti helping the Verde & Black overcome an early deficit to win 3-2.

Colorado Rapids Outlook

The Rapids are already eliminated from postseason contention but still look sharp, earning a 1-0 win over FC Dallas at home last weekend. The team boasts a pair of potent goal threats in Diego Rubio (15 goals) and Gyasi Zardes (nine goals), capable of finding the back of the net in a variety of ways.

That 3-2 defeat to Austin was one of only two the Rapids suffered at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park all season, with the team having the third-most points from home matches in the league. Robin Fraser’s squad hasn’t fared as well on the road though, with one win and a league-low seven points from 16 away matches in 2022.

Probable Colorado Rapids Lineup

(4-2-3-1, R-L) - GK: William Yarbrough; Keegan Rosenberry, Lalas Abubakar, Danny Wilson, Lucas Esteves; Bryan Acosta, Felipe Gutierrez; Michael Barrios, Diego Rubio, Jonathan Lewis; Gyasi Zardes