From his MLS debut in the Philadelphia Union's 2018 season opener until April 13 of 2019, when he received a red card against the LA Galaxy, Auston Trusty played every single minute of the Union's MLS matches.
That's 41 straight games and 3,676 consecutive minutes, if you're counting at home.
Trusty regained his accustomed place in the team after serving his one-game suspension, starting 15 of the next 16 matches. But his playing outlook would soon sharply change. Jack Elliott, who split time with Mark McKenzie in partnering Trusty in 2018, became the club's defensive anchor. As July gave way to August, Trusty lost his starting place to McKenzie and veteran Aurelien Collin.
From first choice to fourth, seemingly in the blink of an eye. He'd soon drop off the depth chart entirely. July 27 would be Trusty's last competitive appearance with his boyhood club, which he joined at age 8.
“The season definitely went in the wrong way, from playing every single minute essentially in the last two years to being dropped from the team for the last quarter of the season," Trusty told MLSsoccer.com last week. "I don’t think that sits right with anybody. For whatever reason you’re not playing, whether it’s on or off the field, it creates a fire in my gut, really. I think everything going on, me leaving my hometown team and the way it went, it doesn’t sit right in my stomach.
“I'm absolutely motivated by that stuff," he continued. "If you were in my shoes, and knew the whole story, it would create a fire in your stomach, too.”
With Trusty entering the final year of his contract with the Union and unable to reach an agreement on a new one, the Colorado Rapids swooped in and acquired the player. Once considered a talent to anchor the Union's defense for years to come, Trusty would be moving on, heading west for the Rapids.
“I wasn’t surprised. I think everybody was in tune," Trusty said. "We were all on the same page. I’m not going to get into specifics because it’s in the past, but I’m just excited for the new opportunity.”
During the conversation Trusty repeatedly mentioned his excitement about joining the Rapids, a team that have developed a reputation in recent times as being a good place for a young player to grow. The club acquired Kellyn Acosta, Jonathan Lewis and Lalas Abubakar over the last two years, with all three flourishing after earning regular playing time. They also have the reigning Rookie of the Year in Andre Shinyashiki on their books as well as a number of Homegrown Players getting regular minutes, including Cole Bassett, Sam Vines and Sebastian Anderson.
And those players are now guided by a former MLS Defender of the Year in head coach in Robin Fraser.
“It shows what the environment is like," Trusty said. "They have the right tools to help players excel. That’s the whole reason I’m happy to come here. I want to excel, I want to grow.”
It's a chance for the 21-year-old to mature personally as well. Born and raised in Pennsylvania, staying with his hometown Union for 13 years, he's looking forward to being on his own, out of his comfort zone.
“I never went to college, never got to experience actually leaving home. It’s different, it’s exciting," Trusty said. "It’s a fresh start, a new environment that I’m not used to. My girlfriend may not think I’m in the best cook, but I do. It’s all part of growing up and learning, but I definitely need to work on that part. It’s going to take work, but I’m excited.”
On May 23, Trusty and the Rapids host the Union, their lone regular-season meeting in 2020. And Trusty isn't looking to fool anybody: It's not just another game.
“It’s already dotted in red," he said without hesitation.