Andreas Maxso’s first-half goal was enough to give the Colorado Rapids a 1-0 win over visiting Austin FC on Saturday.
The Rapids (5-15-11, 26 points) remain in last place in the Western Conference and out of the playoff picture, but Colorado’s victory dealt another blow to Austin FC’s postseason hopes.
Austin (9-14-8, 35 points) dropped to six points behind ninth-place FC Dallas for the final West playoff spot. With multiple teams sitting between Austin and Dallas in the standings, Austin FC is running out of time to gain ground with only three regular-season matches remaining.
Austin FC are winless (0-5-3) in their last eight matches.
Colorado goalkeeper Marko Ilic made five saves for his second shutout of the season.
There wasn’t much attack from either team in the opening 45 minutes until Colorado started to find success on corner kicks late in the first half. Moise Bombito and Cole Bassett each had near-misses on Connor Ronan’s corners, but the third time was the charm when Ronan lined up again in the 41st minute.
On this set piece, Ronan’s kick went to the back post to Maxso, who outmuscled his defender and fired the shot into the net. It was Maxso’s second goal of the season and Ronan’s team-leading seventh assist.
Austin FC star Sebastian Driussi didn’t play due to a hamstring injury suffered in Austin’s last match. The loss of their top scorer clearly impacted Austin FC’s attack Saturday, as the club has 63.3 percent of the possession but couldn’t convert any of 13 shots (five on target).
It wasn’t until the 71st minute that Austin truly threatened, with three close chances happening within seconds.
Ilic stopped close-range shots from Will Bruin and Emiliano Rigoni, and the rebound from Rigoni’s shot fell to Bruin in front of an open net. Unfortunately for Bruin and Austin FC, the veteran striker’s shot was off target.
The Rapids’ win ended a three-match (0-2-1) winless streak. Colorado has scored eight goals in its last five matches, after scoring only 16 times in its first 26 matches.
–Field Level Media