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Austin FC
Major League Soccer
Jun 20, 2024 at 1.30am UK
Al Saqr Stadium
Los Angeles FC

1 - 1
Los Angeles

Obrian (19')
Driussi (58'), Biro (60'), Valencia (63')
FT(HT: 1-0)
Kamara (90')
Duenas (4'), Segura (20'), Tillman (69')

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

Sports Mole previews Thursday's Major League Soccer clash between Austin FC and Los Angeles FC, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

In search of a seventh straight league victory, Los Angeles FC will travel to the Q2 Stadium on Thursday to take on Austin FC.

Thanks to their fine run of form, the visitors sit second in the Major League Soccer Western Conference standings and within touching distance of top spot, while their hosts have dropped to eighth spot following three consecutive defeats.

Match preview

Austin FC head coach Josh Wolff looks on on March 3, 2024© Reuters

Austin FC return to the Q2 Stadium on Thursday with the aim of correcting their MLS form, having slipped out of the top seven in the Western Conference in recent weeks after making a pleasing start to the 2024 season.

Thanks to back-to-back wins over Houston Dynamo and Sporting Kansas City in mid-May, the Verde and Black moved onto 22 points from 14 league outings, including six victories and just four defeats across those games, but they have since hit a tougher patch and added just one more point to their tally in four further attempts.

The latest win over Sporting Kansas City was firstly followed by a 1-1 draw away at San Jose Earthquakes, and Josh Wolff's side have most recently suffered three losses on the bounce heading into Thursday's contest, beginning with a 2-0 defeat at home to Portland Timbers before being thrashed 5-1 away at Conference leaders Real Salt Lake at the beginning of June with Alexander Ring's 92nd-minute penalty nothing more than a consolation.

Aiming to bounce back to winning ways and maintain a playoff place, the Texas outfit most recently visited Colorado Rapids on Sunday and again left empty-handed, as Cole Bassett opened the scoring in the 22nd minute and Rafa Navarro added a second soon after the interval in a 2-0 home triumph.

As a result of their poor run in recent weeks, Austin FC now find themselves eighth in the Western Conference after 18 outings, but still occupying a playoff wildcard spot and only trailing seventh-placed Houston Dynamo on goal difference, they do have the chance to quickly return to the playoff places if they can bounce back with a win on Thursday.

Los Angeles FC (LAFC) head coach Steve Cherundolo before the match on February 25, 2024© Reuters

That will certainly be no easy task, though, as the visitors arrive in an eye-catching run of form with their sights set on top spot in the division.

Aiming to go one better after losing in last season's MLS Cup final to Columbus Crew, Los Angeles FC set out to shine in the Western Conference once again and advance, and they endured a mixed start, earning 15 points from their first 11 outings having picked up four victories while suffering four defeats.

The Black and Gold have kicked into gear since, though, now heading into Thursday's trip in a run of six straight MLS wins and eight in all competitions, having firstly beaten Vancouver Whitecaps and St Louis City between US Open Cup triumphs over Las Vegas Lights and Loudoun, before extending the streak to four league matches with 1-0 and 2-0 wins over Atlanta United and Minnesota United respectively at the end of May.

Another 1-0 triumph then followed at home to Dallas, thanks to Denis Bouanga's 74th-minute goal, before Steve Cherundolo's side most recently visited Orlando City on Sunday and prevailed in a 3-1 victory, having been level at a goal apiece until the 80th minute before Mateusz Bogusz restored their lead and Bouanga put the game out of sight with his second of the day.

With confidence bound to be high in the camp, having now won eight straight matches and only conceded two goals along the way, Los Angeles sit second in the Western Conference, one point behind Real Salt Lake with a game in hand, and they will look to keep building momentum and take top spot with another three-point haul on Thursday.

Austin FC Major League Soccer form:

Los Angeles FC Major League Soccer form:

Team News

Los Angeles FC (LAFC) midfielder Timothy Tillman (11) celebrates on February 25, 2024© Reuters

Austin FC will remain without defender Julio Cascante and midfielder Daniel Pereira on Thursday, with the pair away on international duty at the Copa America with Costa Rica and Venezuela respectively.

In Cascante's absence, Leo Vaisanen should again join Brendan Hines-Ike at the heart of a back four, while Jhojan Valencia and Alexander Ring will likely continue their partnership in midfield.

Despite competition from Gyasi Zardes, Diego Rubio should continue to lead the line with support from the trio of Owen Wolff, Jader Obrian and Sebastian Driussi, who leads their scoring charts with five goals in 14 MLS appearances so far this term.

Los Angeles FC's only loss to international duty is young attacker Cristian Olivera, who is representing Uruguay at the upcoming Copa America, and they may travel on Thursday with an unchanged starting XI from Sunday's win over Orlando City.

Prior to the arrival of Olivier Giroud from AC Milan next month, veteran Kei Kamara should continue to lead the line in a 4-3-3 shape, while Denis Bouanga is their star man going forward and will come in with plenty of confidence, having notched up 12 goals and seven assists in 17 MLS appearances in 2024 including four goals in their last three outings, after topping the MLS charts with 20 goals last year.

Mateusz Bogusz will line up on the other flank, having taken his own tally to seven goals for the season last time out, while Eduard Atuesta, Timothy Tillman and Ilie Sanchez are bound to line up in midfield once again, with Aaron Long and Jesus Murillo partnering up in front of French stopper Hugo Lloris.

Austin FC possible starting lineup:
Stuver; Gallagher, Hines-Ike, Vaisanen, Biro; Valencia, Ring; Obrian, Driussi, Wolff; Rubio

Los Angeles FC possible starting lineup:
Lloris; Palencia, Murillo, Long, Hollingshead; Atuesta, Ilie, Tillman; Bogusz, Kamara, Bouanga

SM words green background

We say: Austin FC 0-2 Los Angeles FC

Los Angeles FC are in formidable form at both ends of the pitch with plenty of momentum on their side, and we can only envisage them extending that on Thursday against an Austin FC side stuck in a rut and slipping down the Conference.

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

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10Philadelphia UnionPhiladelphia2569104542327
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3Real Salt LakeSalt Lake25128551341744
4Colorado RapidsColorado2612595043741
5Vancouver WhitecapsVancouver2411584335838
6Houston DynamoHouston2410773530537
7Seattle SoundersSeattle2510783429537
8Portland TimbersPortland2510695042836
9Minnesota UnitedMinnesota Utd2596104041-133
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14San Jose EarthquakesEarthquakes2542193161-3014

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