LOS ANGELES (KXAN) — Austin FC is hoping to end its two-match losing streak Wednesday, but they’ll have to do it on the road against the best team in the league.
Austin takes on LAFC, the newer of the two Los Angeles teams in Major League Soccer, at 9:30 CDT from Banc of California Stadium in its first midweek MLS regular season game of the year. It will be broadcast on KBVO.
Coming off a 2-1 road loss to Real Salt Lake, Austin FC squandered a 1-0 first-half lead after playing with 10 for most of the second half following Dani Periera’s red card in the 47th minute. While only the third loss of the season for Austin FC, head coach Josh Wolff said after the loss that things aren’t going to get any easier.
“We made it much more difficult on ourselves than we should have,” he said. “We made a couple critical mistakes, and we got punished for them. We’ll have to move on quickly from this.”
Austin FC is currently in third place with 20 points in the MLS Western Conference, and a win would vault the club into a tie with LAFC for first place, depending on how FC Dallas does in its Wednesday match against Vancouver. Wolff said his club has put themselves in a good position early in the year, but they’ve just got to deal with adversity now.
“We’ve picked up a good amount of points so far, and we’ve got to keep moving forward,” he said.
A matchup of MLS’ top scoring teams
Both Austin FC and LAFC lead the conference in goals scored with 23, but LAFC spreads the scoring around with 13 different players on the season’s scoresheet. Carlos Vela leads the team with four goals, followed by Ryan Hollingshead and Kawadwo Opoku each with three.
Austin FC’s Sebastian Driussi is second in MLS with seven goals with Maxi Urruti notching four thus far. Driussi hasn’t scored since a 2-1 win April 30 over Houston, and Austin is 5-0-1 when the prized designated player puts one in the net.
Diego Fagundez leads the league with nine assists, including helping Alex Ring to score Austin’s lone goal against RSL.
Austin FC and LAFC are nearly dead even in possession this season while LAFC holds an advantage in tackles won per match, 9.3 to 6.4. Austin is the better passing team with an 84.3% accuracy rate to LAFC’s 82%, but LAFC gets off four more shots per game than Austin FC, 16.7-12.7.
LAFC has a three-match winning streak over Austin FC dating back to April 2021. LAFC has outscored Austin 6-1 in those matches.
The history behind Austin FC and Banc of California Stadium
This game will take Austin FC back to where it all began for them. It was more than a year ago that the club played its inaugural MLS game against LAFC.
“April 17, 2021 was a historic day here at Banc of California Stadium and Austin FC lost 2-0 but they’ve come a long way since then,” Chris Bils, a senior writer covering Austin FC for The Striker Texas, said.
Fans made that trip in 2021 unsure if they were going to be able to squeeze into the stadium, which was packed. If Austin FC can pull off a win Wednesday, it would be their first against LAFC in the club’s short franchise history.
Three keys for Austin FC
We spoke with Bils about what it will take for Austin FC to pull off their first win against LAFC.
How to watch or listen to the game
Austin FC vs. LAFC
8:30 p.m., CDT, Banc of California Stadium, Los Angeles
English TV: KBVO (MyNetwork), over-the-air channel 14
English live stream: AustinFC.com and Austin FC app
Spanish live stream: UnivisionAustin.com
English radio: ALT 97.5 FM
Spanish radio: TUDN Radio Austin, 104.3 FM HD2, KLQB