With their fans back in Dick’s Sporting Goods Park for the first time in 410 days, the Colorado Rapids didn’t give them much to cheer about Saturday night.
Austin FC scored three unanswered goals in the second half to hand the Rapids a 3-1 loss in their home opener and secure the first win in franchise history.
The first half was all Rapids. They had nine shots to Austin FC’s three, and Andre Shinyashiki scored on a header off Jack Price’s corner kick. Then it was all Austin FC.
“Do I feel good about scoring the goal? No I don’t,” Shinyashiki said. “At the end of the day, we lost the game at home and that’s it.”
The Rapids were tied for fifth on goals off set pieces in 2020 and Saturday’s set-piece score was the team’s first of the 2021 season.
But second 45 minutes told a different story. Austin FC was on it from the get-go, with four shots in the first 10 minutes of the second half.
They didn’t stop there. Austin FC’s first overall selection in the 2021 MLS Draft, Daniel Pereira, made the run through the midfield, played Stroud brilliantly out wide who crossed it and found Diego Fagundez to tie the game at one.
Cecilio Dominguez made his presence felt throughout the game and got himself on the board with a goal in the 67th minute. Dominguez took advantage of a poor turnover. Danny Wilson made a tackle but Dominguez powered through it and finished in the back right corner to take the 2-1 lead.
The Rapids struggled playing out of the back throughout the contest. Top defenders Lalas Abubukar and Sam Vines were unavailable for the second straight week and the void was apparent.
A few minutes later, Dominguez was at it again. He ripped a right-footed shot from outside of the box to the same location as the one previous, putting his team up 3-1.
“Just showed up in good spots and spots that create indecisions for defenders,” Rapids coach Robin Fraser said of Dominguez’s ability to cause problems. “He is an intelligent player who moved about the field and found good spots.”
The Rapids gave up three goals in the span of 12 minutes, an alarming trend that started last season and has continued into this season.
“Seems to be a theme with us,” Shinyashiki said. “We talked about it since last year: give up one goal and the floodgates open and we give up to three. That’s consistent with us and it’s something that we have to change the mentality.”
The Rapids next travel to Sandy, Utah, where they will play the Vancouver Whitecaps next Sunday. The Whitecaps are playing their home games in the United States for the time being.
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