The Colorado Rapids returned the favor Saturday at Austin FC’s Q2 Stadium.
Colorado went to Texas and took the three points via a 1-0 win after the Rapids were on the losing end of a 3-1 result in late April for Austin’s first win in Major League Soccer.
“I was really proud of the way the team played as a team tonight,” Rapids coach Robin Fraser said. “(We) defended well and created a number of opportunities. It was really just a great team win.”
Andre Shinyashiki opened the scoring in the 29th minute when a through ball from Michael Barrios pinged around a pair of Austin defenders before falling at Shinyashiki’s feet. Austin goalkeeper Brad Stuver made the first save but failed to gather the ball, allowing Shinyashiki to poke it over the line for a 1-0 lead the Rapids would take to halftime.
“To me, it’s just being a fox in the box and seeing the play through. You know, I missed the first one, but I was still right there to clean it up on the second shot,” Shinyashiki said. “That’s what I do when I play the nine, when I play that position. I’m always in the box. I’m always looking to score. I’m happy I was able to help the team with a goal.”
It was enough thanks to some solid defending in front of William Yarbrough, who recorded another clean sheet after an unfortunate mistake gifted Real Salt Lake a goal last week.
“That shows how professional he is and shows his quality,” Shinyashiki said. “That’s what we really need, and he stepped up for us today.”
After the win, the Rapids sit on 27 points through 15 matches, good for fourth in the Western Conference.
Though Austin owned more of the possession in the first half, the Rapids recorded nine shots to the hosts’ five and put four attempts on goal to Austin’s one.
Barrios had a couple of chances to double Colorado’s lead in first-half stoppage time, but Stuver made a couple of big saves — one with his feet and one with his hands — to keep it a one-goal game after 45 minutes.
Stuver and Yarbrough each made impressive saves in the second half to maintain the 1-0 score after 90 minutes. The Rapids finished with 16 shots to Austin’s 11 and put six shots on goal to just a pair from the hosts.
Colorado again played without forward Diego Rubio, Danny Wilson and a trio of U.S. team members who were in Las Vegas preparing for Sunday’s Gold Cup final against Mexico. The Rapids still managed to come home with a win.
“I thought the discipline was excellent. The willingness to work was excellent,” Fraser said. “As we talked about people doing their job and helping just a little with someone else, we saw that all over the field tonight.”
The Rapids are set to return to Dick’s Sporting Goods Park on Saturday against Sporting Kansas City.