LOS ANGELES (KXAN) — LAFC forward Denis Bouanga was the hottest goal-scorer in Major League Soccer coming into Saturday’s match against Austin FC, and somehow he got even hotter against Verde and Black.

Bouanga scored a hat trick to lead the defending MLS Cup champions past Austin FC 3-0 at BMO Stadium. LAFC outshot Austin FC 26-9 and had 10 corner kicks to Austin’s three, but in the end, it was Bouanga’s hot streak reaching an entirely different level that did Verde in.

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“For large stretches of the game, I thought we played quite well,” Austin FC head coach Josh Wolff said. “They have a very special player in Bouanga, he scored three incredible goals and he has exceptional talent. I think the second one hit us hard.”

With his three goals. Bouanga starts the season with 11 goals across the club’s first nine matches across MLS and Concacaf Champions League combined. In six MLS matches, Bouanga is second in the league with six goals.

His first goal came in the 40th minute from the edge of the 18-yard box. He hammered a low shot that beat Austin FC goalkeeper Brad Stuver to the near post for the match’s first goal. Bouanga’s shot actually clipped the inside of the post and caromed into the goal, and it gave the defending champs a 1-0 lead into halftime.

“He finishes extremely well, and in a flash, he makes the most of them,” Wolff said. “We’re talking about the deepest team in MLS I’ve ever seen, and they are the best team in the league.”

Bouanga scored twice in the second half, the first coming in the 57th minute off a deflected corner kick. Bouanga played it perfectly about 10 yards from goal and hit a missile off a volley through traffic.

He capped his incredible performance in the 68th minute with a half-volley goal off a cross from Sergi Palencia. Bouanga played the long arcing pass from Palencia with precision, hitting it to the roof of the goal over the top of Stuver.

Austin FC had a few chances to get on the scoreboard, but Driussi’s shot a minute after Bounaga’s second strike was saved by LAFC goalkeeper Eldin Jakupovic, and the former Everton keeper made another save in the 82nd minute on an Adam Lundkvist shot. Jakupovic made four saves in his first start of the season for LAFC.

While it might seem obvious, Wolff said his best attacking players need to score goals. Right now, defender John Gallagher leads the team with three goals, and quite frankly it shouldn’t be that way.

“These guys have to score goals and create,” Wolff said. “It’s not about just keeping the ball, we have to find ways to be more dangerous and goal-threatening.”

Austin (2-3-1, 7 points) comes back home April 15 to host the Vancouver Whitecaps. LAFC (4-0-2, 14 points) goes across town April 16 for the El Trafico derby against the LA Galaxy.