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Major League Soccer
Sep 25, 2023 at 5.25am UK
Bold Stadium

3 - 3
LA Galaxy

Ring (11'), Finlay (45+6'), Rigoni (75')
Gallagher (3'), Vaisanen (30')
FT(HT: 2-1)
Puig (45+2' pen.), Joveljic (89'), Barrios (90+4')
Cerrillo (84')

Preview: Austin FC vs. Los Angeles Galaxy - prediction, team news, lineups

:Headline: Preview: Austin FC vs. Los Angeles Galaxy - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Monday's Major League Soccer clash between Austin FC and Los Angeles Galaxy, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Sports Mole

Two sides in desperate need of a victory to climb back into the MLS postseason race will battle on Sunday at Q2 Stadium in Texas as Austin FC host the Los Angeles Galaxy.

In midweek, the Verde and Black could only manage a 1-1 draw with the New York Red Bulls, putting them 12th in the Western Conference, four points behind the playoff line, while the Galaxy are just a point behind Austin in the table following a 4-3 come-from-behind victory over Minnesota United.

Match preview

After climbing back into the postseason picture in July with at least a point in three of their four matches played that month, including a pair of victories, Austin have fallen behind once again in their playoff quest.

Since the Leagues Cup concluded, Josh Wolff has seen his side drop points in six successive domestic fixtures, putting them at 34 points after 29 matches this season, 17 fewer than they had at this same stage in 2022.

Playing catch-up has not been a speciality of this group throughout the MLS campaign, with just three points domestically in 2023 when conceding the opening goal, one of which came at Red Bull Arena in their previous encounter.

They have also dropped five points when leading in the second half this year, which could, in the end, come back to bite them, failing to win on two occasions when drawing first blood.

Three of their five remaining league fixtures occur at Q2 Stadium, where the Verde and Black have claimed over half of their points this season (18/34), though they enter this encounter on a two-match domestic losing run at home.

Their lone victory versus the Galaxy since entering the league occurred in their inaugural campaign (2021) when they came away with a 2-0 triumph.

The Galaxy continue to stay in the playoff picture but try as they might, they cannot seem to make up much ground despite suffering only one defeat in their last six league fixtures.

Greg Vanney's men have dug themselves plenty of holes since the end of August and have often persevered, trailing at the half in three of their previous five MLS affairs but still picking up seven points over that stretch.

LA are second from the bottom in the Western Conference with 33 points but are tied for the fewest games played to date (28).

Having four clubs to have to overtake in their quest to return to the postseason will be a tall task, and that will be made even tougher knowing that three of their next four matches will take place away from home, where the Galaxy have just two victories on the year, tied for the fewest in the Western Conference.

It was a rough beginning to the 2023 campaign for the Galaxy, who went winless in their opening seven matches, and that poor form may come back to haunt them should they miss the postseason for the third time in the last four seasons.

All year long, this team have been poor defensively, conceding the most goals in MLS (48), but they seem to get it together when facing the Verde and Black, having allowed a mere three strikes in five previous meetings against them, and posting three clean sheets.

Austin FC Major League Soccer form:

Los Angeles Galaxy Major League Soccer form:

Team News

Gyasi Zardes saw limited action for Austin against the Red Bulls because of left calf tightness, coming on for Maxi Urruti late in the second half, Zan Kolmanic is out because of a right ACL injury, while Julio Cascante will be eligible to return from his yellow card suspension.

Two changes were made to their starting 11 on Wednesday, with Jhojan Valencia and Urruti featuring in place of Zardes and Cascante.

Sebastian Driussi scored just before half-time of their previous fixture to help the Verde and Black claim a single point, his second in successive matches, putting him at nine for the season to lead his side.

LA were without Douglas Costa versus the Loons as the Brazilian had a sore hamstring, which will leave him questionable for this encounter, Jalen Neal sat out with a problem in his abdomen, Martin Caceres is unlikely to feature due to an avulsion fracture in his left knee, Gaston Brugman tore a meniscus in his left knee, Chicharito is done for the year because of a torn ACL in his right knee, while Lucas Calegari might have to sit out again this weekend as he is recovering from a knee injury.

In his first home start for the Galaxy in midweek, Billy Sharp put on quite a show, scoring a hat-trick, as the Englishman now has goals in three successive matches, former Austin striker Diego Fagundez notched the winner, eight minutes from the end, Tyler Boyd has at least one goal involvement in each of his last two games, while Riqui Puig, who leads LA with seven assists has not registered a goal involvement in back-to-back contests.

Jonathan Bond collected his 85th regular season cap in their victory over Minnesota, putting him into a tie with David Bingham for the second-most all-time among Galaxy goalkeepers, Raheem Edwards made his 24th appearance of the campaign, starting the last two matches at the back since his yellow card suspension, while Kelvin Leerdam made his first MLS start since July 15.

Austin FC possible starting lineup:
Stuver; Lima, Vaisanen, Hedges, Lundqvist; Gallagher, Valencia, Pereira; Rigoni; Driussi, Zardes

Los Angeles Galaxy possible starting lineup:
Bond; Leerdam, Yoshida, Zavaleta, Aude; Cerrillo, Delgado, Puig; Boyd, Sharp, Barrios

We say: Austin FC 2-3 Los Angeles Galaxy

All season the Galaxy have looked unorganised defensively but have found a way to climb back into matches plenty of times, and they are getting contributions from numerous sources, which is why we believe they will get the better of Austin, who still seem to rely heavily on Driussi.

How to watch

You can watch Austin FC vs. Los Angeles Galaxy and every MLS match this season live on Apple TV. Click here for more details on how to subscribe.

For data analysis of the most likely results, scorelines and more for this match please click here.

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1Inter MiamiInter Miami18105342271535
2FC CincinnatiCincinnati1610332316733
3New York Red BullsNY Red Bulls178542923629
4New York City FCNY City179262620629
5Columbus Crew157622415927
6Charlotte FCCharlotte FC177461818025
8Philadelphia UnionPhiladelphia164842723420
9Nashville SCNashville164752022-219
10DC United174762531-619
11Orlando City164571624-817
12CF MontrealMontreal164572335-1217
13Atlanta UnitedAtlanta164482221116
14Chicago Fire173681729-1215
15New England RevolutionNew England1541101227-1513

Western Conference

1Real Salt LakeSalt Lake1796236191733
2Los Angeles FCLos Angeles169342819930
3Minnesota UnitedMinnesota Utd168532821729
4Los Angeles GalaxyLA Galaxy177733125628
5Vancouver WhitecapsVancouver167452419525
6Austin FCAustin176562125-423
7Houston DynamoHouston166461818022
8Colorado RapidsColorado176472931-222
9Portland TimbersPortland185673232021
10Seattle SoundersSeattle174672021-118
11St Louis City163942325-218
12Sporting Kansas CityKansas173592632-614
14San Jose EarthquakesEarthquakes1632112439-1511
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