LAFC are in the middle of a terrific season, with the Supporters’ Shield back in the trophy case and the club two wins away from winning MLS Cup this year. But don’t count your chickens before they hatch.
Obviously, we’ve seen LAFC in just this spot before and they faltered at the penultimate hurdle, back in 2019. Now, with a do-over in remarkably similar circumstances, LAFC have a showdown at The Banc on Sunday against Austin FC. So how has the history looked against the Verde? Well, it depends on the year so far.
All-time LAFC record vs. Austin FC: 2W-2L-0D
In 2021, LAFC won both their games against Austin. But this year, it’s been rough so far, with Austin the only team to hold a perfect record so far against the black-and-gold.
May 18: LAFC 1, Austin FC 2
One big caveat off the top on this one: This game came on a Wednesday, while LAFC were trying to juggle U.S. Open Cup and league play, with Steve Cherundolo rotating lineups throughout the month with eight games in the calendar month.
After Ruben Gabrielsen gave Austin the early lead, Diego Fagundez scored the insurance tally in the 80th minute for the visitors. Carlos Vela pulled the deficit to a goal with a penalty scored in the 86th minute, but the rally came up short on the night. There was a late second penalty appeal, after Diego Palacios hit the deck, but if you’re counting on two penalties to generate your offense, you’re likely not going to get your way in the end.
All in all, not LAFC’s best game, but one of those “Who executes the best and makes the fewest mistakes wins” games, and LAFC were on the wrong end in this one.
Aug. 26: Austin FC 4, LAFC 1
This is the game that was a true concern for LAFC on the season. Other times they lost in 2022, it was an unlucky night, perhaps. Even their losses to the Galaxy, as embarrassing as they were, don’t rival this performance, in which Austin spanked the black-and-gold in Texas.
Diego Fagundez got a second goal against LAFC on the season here, opening the scoring with a free kick in the 32nd minute. Then that was followed by a scuffle on the sideline between the teams a few minutes later, after Jesus David Murillo and Maxi Urruti gave each other a little extra body. Somehow, no one got sent off in the melee, and honestly, both sides did their part there.
Well, Urruti staying on the field turned out to be consequential, as the Austin striker scored a quickfire brace early in the 2nd half, LAFC showing a meltdown was on as a missed tackle led to the third goal on the night. Sebastian Driussi wrapped up the game with a goal just before the hour mark, and only Cristian Arango’s consolation goal shortly after provided any positives on the night for LAFC, who were thoroughly worked by their opponent.
A final note...
LAFC wore their alternate uniforms in both games this year against Austin. Obviously, to change their fortune, they must wear the primary black kits in Sunday’s Western Conference Final. Hey, every little bit helps, and if that gives them the mojo to beat Austin FC this time, they have to do it.
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