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MLS Western Conference: RSL’s highs and lows, LAFC’s wingers & more on each team

We’re dissecting every MLS team in the Western Conference.

15 min read

Welcome back our two-part weekly MLS column here at Backheeled where we break down all 29 teams in the league.

I’ve got the West. Ben Wright’s got the East. Fixture congestion’s got a grip on MLS right now. Let’s chat about the latest for each Western Conference squad, shall we?

To read up on the East, check out Ben’s rundown.

MLS Eastern Conference: NYCFC allegations, Cincinnati claim Ohio & more on each team
We’re dissecting every MLS team in the Eastern Conference.

Austin FC

Result: 2-1 loss at FC Dallas

Inter Miami have shown an absurd ability to come back from early holes to emerge victorious before the final whistle this year. Yeah, uh, this Austin FC team isn’t Inter Miami. A sloppy ball in buildup from Sebastian Driussi put a big ol’ dent in Austin’s chances of collecting even a point on the road on Saturday evening: 

Still, Austin had time — 86 minutes and change — to get themselves back into the match against FC Dallas. And yet? They put together sequence after sequence of lackluster, sluggish possession play. Over the past year or so, I’ve spilled plenty of digital ink writing about this team’s inefficient final third approach, but against Dallas, it was their slow transition play in the first half that stuck out like a sore thumb.

Take this clip from the 21st minute as just one example. After winning the ball back, Austin FC are incredibly slow to provide passing angles for Emiliano Rigoni and even slower to send numbers forward into the attack to support the over-matched Diego Rubio in his hold-up efforts. Literally no one breaks into a jog for the first nine seconds after the ball turns over to make any attempt to exploit the acres of space in Dallas’ half. 

No intensity equals no points.

Colorado Rapids

Result: 3-2 loss vs. San Jose Earthquakes

Wasting a two-goal lead and dropping three points front of your home fans is never, ever ideal. Like Austin don’t have the quality to reliably recover after shipping a goal on a mistake in buildup, when things start to go wrong for Colorado — say, with sloppy defending inside their own box in open play and on set pieces — it’s hard for them to recover.

Still, I’d like to search for a positive in an otherwise bleak loss for the Rapids. Why? Because I’m nice like that, that’s why.

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