Austin FC is set to wrap up a busy May schedule this Sunday, when the Club travels west to face the LA Galaxy for the second time this month (kickoff 5 p.m. CT/3 p.m. PT).
Coming off a 2-1 victory against the Galaxy’s cross-town rivals LAFC last Wednesday, and a draw against Orlando City SC in which the Club erased a two-goal deficit, a win on Sunday would see ATXFC enter a three-week break in the top two of the Western Conference, and potentially in first place should LAFC fall to San Jose.
Austin FC Outlook
The Verde & Black’s 2-2 draw once again showed the team’s ability to fight back. Moussa Djitté’s 95th-minute equalizer - the latest goal in Club history - earned ATXFC its eighth point from a losing position this season, an impressive rally against an Orlando side which was well-rested having not played in midweek as Austin did.
Sebastián Driussi and Owen Wolff performed well once again on Sunday. Driussi continued his MVP-caliber campaign by scoring his team-leading eighth goal of the season from the penalty spot and completing 43 of 47 passes.
The Argentine’s 12 goal contributions are the most of any player in MLS through 13 weeks of the season, and he leads the team in successful dribbles (19) while co-leading in key passes (15) and tackles (10).
With Driussi’s talent well-established, Wolff is just beginning to show his. Making his second career start, the 17-year-old created a game-high five chances and completed 23 of 24 passes.
As the Verde & Black face a stretch which will see them play 5 of 6 matches on the road, they’ll hope to continue a solid run of away form. Austin has gathered 10 points on its travels so far, and has won 3 of its last 4 on the road.
LA Galaxy Outlook
When Austin met the Galaxy three weeks ago, it was a frustrating contest for the Verde & Black, as LA became only the second team to shut ATXFC out this season. Since then, the Galaxy have gone through a bit of a rough patch, making Sunday a great opportunity for Austin to avenge that earlier defeat.
LA is the joint-lowest scoring offense in the Western Conference, with 13 goals through 13 games. That wasn’t a problem for the Galaxy until recently due to the team’s excellent defense, but that defense has become leakier of late, allowing three goals in each of its last two home matches.
Make no mistake about it though - the Galaxy still have quality throughout their squad and will be hungry to overcome their recent blip. Javier “Chicharito” Hernández (five goals) and Raheem Edwards (five assists) remain the key threats to watch for, while goalkeeper Jonathan Bond has five clean sheets and 33 saves thus far.
The Galaxy faced the added challenge of a midweek U.S. Open Cup match against rivals LAFC and handled it with aplomb, winning 3-1. But it remains to be seen how that match could impact Head Coach Greg Vanney’s squad selection for the weekend.
Probable LA Galaxy Lineup
(4-2-3-1, R-L) - GK: Jonathan Bond; Julián Araujo, Derrick Williams, Nick DePuy, Raheem Edwards; Rayan Raveloson, Marco Delgado; Samuel Grandsir, Efraín Álvarez, Kévin Cabral; Javier Hernández