Austin FC Scores Independence Day Win With Comeback Over Colorado Rapids

Verde lead league with six road wins

Austin FC players celebrate a 3-2 win over the Colorado Rapids on July 4 (Courtesy of Austin FC)

Each year, the Colorado Rapids host an MLS match on the Fourth of July, and each year, the match is followed by what the Rapids claim is the “biggest fireworks show in the state of Colorado.” This year, though, it was the visiting team supplying the pyrotechnics as Austin FC rallied from down 0-2 to score a league-leading sixth road win, 3-2.

The Verde and Black conceded twice during a sluggish opening 25 minutes – first a set-piece goal punched in by Lalas Abubakar, followed by a breakaway finish from Jonathan Lewis, chipped neatly over the head of Brad Stuver. For the fourth time this season, Austin FC found themselves in a 0-2 hole. And for the fourth time, they fought all the way back to capture a result … in this case a victory and all 3 points.

Both of ATXFC’s first-half goals came off of deliveries by left back Jon Gallagher. In the 28th minute, his long through ball penetrated two lines of Colorado players to meet the feet of Ethan Finlay, who deployed a chip of his own to score over the head of Rapids keeper William Yarborough. Then, just seconds before the halftime whistle, Gallagher spotted the run of Sebastián Driussi darting into the box and met the Argentine with a pinpoint cross, which Driussi volleyed into the back of the net.

“Just belief,” Gallagher said of the club’s ability to climb out of early deficits this season. “Even 2-nil down, we stay calm, we don’t panic, whereas maybe last year we don’t have that same confidence.

“The last 20 minutes of the first half, we took control of the game,” Gallagher said.

The second half was one-way traffic, with Austin striker Maxi Urruti depositing a right-footed strike into the side netting in the 52nd minute. However, the goal was disallowed following a VAR (video assistant referee) review that inexplicably penalized Driussi for a handball in the buildup. So seven minutes later, Urruti deposited a right-footed strike into the side netting once more, and that goal stood up as the game winner.

“It’s an unbelievable effort, a great response, and to be honest, we should have won by more,” ATX coach Josh Wolff said afterward. “I think the guys deserve all the credit in the world.”

The only blemish of the second half came in the 75th minute when rookie center back Kipp Keller, already on a yellow card, made a second-effort lunge to a loose ball, catching a Colorado player on the follow-through. Referee Joseph Dickerson saw enough to hand Keller a second yellow, and Austin FC was forced to kill off the final 15 minutes with 10 men.

Keller’s red card could also prove problematic for Josh Wolff as the Oaks head to his hometown of Atlanta on Saturday for a road test against Atlanta United. If neither Julio Cascante or Jhohan Romaña – both out with injuries for Monday’s match – is available at the weekend, ATXFC will be down to just one active center back, Ruben Gabrielsen.

“We’ll keep piecing it together,” Wolff said.

For more Austin FC news and analysis, visit The Austin Chronicle's Austin FC hub. Follow "The Verde Report" columnist Eric Goodman on Twitter: @goodman.

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Austin FC, Colorado Rapids, Josh Wolff, Kipp Keller, Ethan Finlay, Sebastian Driussi, Jon Gallagher

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