Austin FC head to the west coast for the second time five matches to take on the LA Galaxy on Saturday as ATXFC look to get back to their winning ways. The Galaxy have won three of their games this year and boast MLS’s top goalscorer this year, Mexican superstar Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez.
Austin looked to be on their way to winning three matches in a row on Sunday against Sporting Kansas City after Jon Gallagher scored in the seventh minute to give the Verde & Black an early lead.
That lead lasted for 75 minutes, with Ilie Sanchez finding an equalizer for the home side off a set piece. The goal came 15 minutes after Alex Ring was sent off after being shown a second yellow card. Sporting midfielder Gadi Kinda gave his team the lead in the 90th minute, which they would hold onto to hand Austin their second loss of the season.
Josh Wolff’s team heads to L.A. without the services of their captain as Ring is suspended for the match due to his red card. Sebastian Berhalter is the most obvious choice to replace him -- having played the same position during preseason -- but Wolff could turn to a number of players to start in the midfield.
This match again comes on the road, as Austin start the season on an eight-game road trip before opening Q2 Stadium on June 19 vs the San Jose Earthquakes.
LA Galaxy Outlook
Coming into the season, it was unclear what should be expected of this Galaxy team.
They were coming off a down year that saw them miss the MLS Cup Playoffs, while Chicharito scored just two goals during an injury-riddled first season with the Galaxy. Over the offseason there was a head coaching change, as former Toronto FC manager Greg Vanney was brought in to turn the page after Guillermo Barros Schelotto failed to bring hardware back to the five-time MLS Cup Champions.
The early returns have been outstanding for the Galaxy. They have won three of their four games and Chicharito has been rejuvenated, scoring six goals already this season. Last week the Galaxy beat their crosstown rivals LAFC off goals from Hernandez and Mexican international Jonathan dos Santos.
One area where the Galaxy have not performed their best is defensively, as they have conceded eight goals. That’s tied for the second most in the Western Conference so far.
Probable Galaxy Lineup
(4-2-3-1, R-L) - GK: Jonathan Bond; Julian Araujo, Daniel Steres, Derrick Williams, Jorge Villafaña; Jonathan dos Santos, Adam Saldaña; Samuel Grandsir, Ethan Zubak, Sebastian Lletget; Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez