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Austin FC salutes their fans after their inaugural match at LAFC on April 17. (Austin FC/Twitter)

Nearly 500,000 viewers across the U.S. drew their breath as Austin FC's Tomas Pochettino nearly sent a header to the back of the LAFC net. Then again when another header from substitute Jon Gallagher flew just wide of goal, reigniting a fighting spirit in the club. Once more in the 90th minute when Gallagher faced LAFC goalie Pablo Sisniega in a last-minute attempt to narrow the lead.

While no fans saw the club complete their first-ever goal, 30 of them were able to watch the debut from the Banc of California Stadium itself. Nearly 1,500 miles away, thousands more watched with fingers crossed from watch parties and living rooms across Austin.

Austin FC has another chance to fly one past the goalkeeper in this week's matchup in Denver against the Colorado Rapids. If you're part of the #denVERDE movement making the trek up to the match this weekend, you probably already know as much as I do. If not, here's a rundown of possible lineup changes, Rapids insights and info on where to watch Austin FC's (possible) first goal.

What to expect

The Rapids' Michael Barrios could be a tough offensive threat against Austin FC on April 24. (Colorado Rapids/Twitter)

So what do we know about the Colorado Rapids this season?

Truthfully, not much. The Rapids didn't give a lot away in their season opener as they ended in a scoreless draw at FC Dallas over the weekend.

Despite a lackluster opening match, we do know the team and fans are eager to watch their home opener at Dick's Sporting Goods Park for the first time since before the coronavirus pandemic.

A founding member of the MLS, the Rapids have 25 years of experience on Austin's expansion team. While they may not have the track record of LAFC, this is clearly not a shoe-in for Austin FC. The club will need to look out for Rapids forward Michael Barrios, who saw three of his four shots on target against his former club, FC Dallas.

The Rapids could also have an advantage on their home turf due to their placement in the Rockies. Austin FC already looks like they aren't 100% conditioned, and high altitudes could tire the club out even quicker. Head Coach Josh Wolff said the team has been using altitude and bariometric chambers to prepare, and they're conditioning like usual for the match.

Beware of headers, Colorado. While Austin FC hasn't connected on anything so far, they saw some near goals with nail-biting headers throughout the match. If DP Pochettino, Danny Hoesen or Gallagher get shots on goal like they did last week, it could be game over for the Rapids.

Austin FC vs. Colorado Rapids projected lineup

If you were here last week, there's likely nothing new. Wolff gave no indication on changing the lineup for this week's match, and it's more likely he'll keep the same starters from the LAFC match for at least a few weeks. There are a few changes that would be less surprising than others, however.

Hoesen saw a few chances in the match, but he didn't really secure his spot as Austin FC's purest offensive player in the opener. Meanwhile, Gallagher brought new life to the team when he subbed in later in the match, notching two near goals in the final minutes of play. Whether it was first-match jitters or simply the luck of the draw, Hoesen's likely still safe for a few matches, but Gallagher could prove a threat later on down the road.

Ben Sweat didn't stand out too much in the match, and perhaps that's a good thing for a defender. He sailed across to Pochettino to aid a near goal in the first half, and he appeared to do what he needed to in left back. His starting spot is threatened less because he did poorly and more because his sub, 21-year old Slovenian Zan Kolmanic, did surprisingly well. Kolmanic is behind on conditioning, but he's got more than enough skill to make a run for the starting spot at some point.

Finally, Brad Stuver came as a bit of a surprise as he edged out Andrew Tarbell in the club's first match. The two were neck-and-neck in preseason, but Stuver appeared to do his job up against LAFC, blocking a shot in the first 30 seconds of play and fending off 11 on-target shot attempts. We can still expect to see Tarbell start at some point.

Where to watch

Over 1,000 Austin FC fans watched the inaugural match at Austin Anthem's watch party at Circle Brewing on April 17. (Circle Brewing/Twitter)

If you're not part of the #denVERDE crew headed up to watch the match live (psst, tickets are still up, and they're cheap!), there's still plenty of watch parties available this weekend.

The official Austin FC watch party will be held at 3TEN ACL Live. Kickoff is at 8 p.m., but the org recommends coming early—last time, over 1,000 people showed up, and there's limited seating at this venue. It's free to enter, and there's a full bar available as well. Bites are provided by the W Austin.

Fan club Austin Anthem has relocated to Adelbert's Brewing for this week's match. Expect limited seating, as the club also saw over 1,000 RSVPs for the opener. RSVP here.

Finally, Los Verdes has already shown they're bringing a good time, all the time. Partnered with Hopsquad Brewing, the club plans to bring live music, beer, food and "a surprise" to Saturday's watch party. Doors open at 12 p.m., live music kicks off at 2 p.m. and kickoff is at 8 p.m. More info here.

For a full list of pub partners that will play the match, click here.


Austonia file photo. (Christa McWhirter/Austonia)

Police have arrested one of two suspects involved in a mass shooting at Austin's Sixth Street in the early morning hours on Saturday, leaving 14 people injured and two in critical condition.

The arrest was made by the Austin Police Department and the Lone Star Fugitive Task Force. One suspect is still at large.

Police started receiving 911 phone calls at 1:24 a.m about a man that fired shots into a large crowd, and responded to a chaotic scene on the 400 block of East Sixth Street. Detectives are surveying video footage captured by bystanders and cameras on the scene to identify the suspect.

The Austin Police Department has narrowed down their search to two male suspects and believes there was "some type of disturbance" between the two parties.

No deaths have been reported. Fourteen victims are receiving treatment in a hospital in stable condition with one treated in an emergency room; two are in critical condition.

According to Interim Police Chief Joseph Chacon, "almost all" of the victims are innocent bystanders but police have not ruled anyone out at this time.

Shooting on 6th Street Austin Texas 6-12-2021 (Aftermath)

The shooting occurred on the weekend of the Republic of Texas Motorcycle Rally. With lots of people downtown, police say it was difficult to get EMS in and out of the scene. Police arrived while the scene was still an "active threat," officers "immediately began lifesaving measures" and drove six victims to the hospital in their squad cars, said Chacon, and four were transported in ambulances.

Chacon said that the incident is believed to be isolated, and they optimistic they will be successful in getting the two suspects into custody. Multiple departments, including APD, the FBI, Texas DPS and the ATF, are involved in the investigation.

Austin police are also requesting state troopers for patrol assistance in the coming days. Chacon stressed staffing issues are increasingly making responding to emergency calls "very hard."

"Overall, we remain a safe city," Chacon said. "Also keep in mind when you come downtown, you need to be safety conscious. Be vigilant of your environment and your surroundings."

Today marks the five-year anniversary of the Pulse nightclub shooting in which 49 were killed and 53 wounded in Orlando, Florida. Anyone with information on the shooting is asked to call 911 or 512-472-TIPS.

This story was updated at 2:47 p.m. to include new information and will be updated as more details are revealed.

Austin police are investigating a homicide in North Austin where a woman was shot and killed, just hours after a mass shooting in Downtown Austin hospitalized 14 people.

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