(Photo credit: Scott Wachter-USA TODAY Sports)
Austin FC is desperate to end their seven-match winless streak and reignite their playoff push when they visit the last-place Colorado Rapids Saturday in Commerce City, Colo.
Austin (9-13-8, 35 points) enters Saturday's action five points out of a playoff berth in the crowded Western Conference standings. The club's postseason ticket looked much more secure last month, but an 0-4-3 slump has pushed Austin FC below the playoff line.
Last Sunday's 3-3 draw with the Los Angeles Galaxy was perhaps the most bitter result of the seven-match drought. Austin FC held a 3-1 lead after 88 minutes but conceded two late goals.
Despite the lack of victories, Austin coach Josh Wolff has felt his team has "done some very good things" in these last matches.
"The rewards of three points has eluded us, and some of it (has been) self-inflicted," Wolff said. "... We know we need to win, stay attached to the playoff line."
Opponents have scored seven times in the 88th minute or later during Austin FC's last seven matches.
Sebastian Driussi is questionable for Saturday after Wolff said Austin FC's leading scorer missed two days of training this week. Driussi was in obvious discomfort when being substituted off the field in the 85th minute against the Galaxy.
The Rapids (4-15-11, 23 points) are battling with Toronto FC to avoid the bottom of the overall MLS standings.
Colorado has a league-low 23 goals scored, but seven of those goals have come in the team's last four matches. Five of the seven goals have come from Cole Bassett and Diego Rubio, as Rubio's return from injury has sparked Colorado's attack.
Rubio and Bassett each scored in the Rapids' 2-2 home draw with the Vancouver Whitecaps on Wednesday, but a possible win turned into a draw when Brian White equalized for Vancouver in the 78th minute.
"We didn't manage the game well enough, so there's some good lessons to be learned there," Colorado interim coach Chris Little said. "But some real positives in the performance ... we're looking at goal threat, we're creating chances."
Austin FC and the Rapids played a 1-1 draw in Austin on March 25.
--Field Level Media