Robin Fraser has no doubts Colorado Rapids are in for a stern test as they prepare to face expansion side Austin FC on Saturday.
The Rapids started the season with a 0-0 draw against FC Dallas, while Austin's maiden MLS game was a 2-0 defeat to Los Angeles FC.
Fraser, though, knows the Rapids will be going up a well disciplined and talented side, despite Austin's short-lived top tier history.
"We're looking forward to coming home, playing in front of fans for the first time in a year. Our guys are looking forward to it," he said.
"Austin's a very good team, the whole idea of expansion teams being behind the eight-ball, I don't really think that's the case anymore, with the resources to go out and get players, good teams and good organisations are pretty good from day one these days.
"Austin is no exception. They're an organised team who've done a good job of bringing in talent. We've seen a bit last week, we know some of the players who are there. In terms of preparation it's really about looking at their tendencies, getting ready for that and seeing if we can exploit it.
"They're a well organised team playing within a system. The best teams play in good systems, and it's clear they've instituted certain things within them, it's not that difficult to see the tendencies."
Josh Wolff, meanwhile, talked up his goalkeeping options – Brad Stuver and Andrew Tarbell – ahead of Austin's second MLS outing.
"I think both Andrew and Brad did relatively well in the preseason, they're both very, very comparable," said Wolff. "We decided on Brad just based on how we felt preseason went.
"We gave a little bit of the edge to him. Certainly he has comfortability with the ball which, knowing what our expectations are of him, lead him to be starter."
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Colorado Rapids – Jack Price
No player created more chances in the game between Dallas and Colorado than Rapids' midfielder Jack Price, who played four key passes in total, and could be crucial in breaking down that well-drilled Austin defence.
Austin FC – Jon Gallagher
Jon Gallagher was one of two players (along with LAFC's Kwade Opoku) to hit two shots on target as a reserve on the opening weekend of the season.
KEY OPTA FACTS
- Michael Barrios attempted five shots (three on target) in his Rapids debut against Dallas. A Rapids player attempted five shots in a match just three times last season and no player took more.
- Austin became just the second team since 2013 to fail to score in their inaugural match (Inter Miami, also vs. LAFC in 2020).
- The Rapids scored eight goals in their final two home matches last season, wins over San Jose Earthquakes and Seattle Sounders.
- Colorado have found the net in 24 consecutive home matches, the longest active streak in MLS and the longest in club history.
- Colorado won their last match against an expansion side, beating FC Cincinnati, 3-1, in June 2019. Prior to that win, however, the Rapids were winless in seven straight matches against newcomers (D2 L5), including losing the previous four straight.