LAFC vs. Austin FC
MLS 2021 Season - Match 12
Wednesday, July 7, 2021
6:00 p.m. PT
TV: Bally’s Sports SoCal, Estrella TV
RADIO: 1110 AM ESPN, ESPN App (Audio), KFWB 980 AM
The Black & Gold can finally look in the rearview mirror at their first road victory of the 2021 MLS campaign after a hard-fought win over Real Salt Lake in Sandy, Utah on July 3.
The two sides struggled to produce meaningful chances in the first half, but LAFC broke through in the 69th minute behind José Cifuentes’ third goal of the season off a perfect feed from defender Eddie Segura to lock in the 50th all-time MLS regular season win in Club history.
“Hard fought team win. Some big plays, of course. Tomás Romero makes a really big save, Eddie Segura saves one off the line and our goal is well done,” said LAFC Head Coach Bob Bradley. “Not a night where we found good fluidity, not a night of our best football by any means but the mentality tonight was very good, handled set pieces well so those are the positives.”
Up next is an Austin FC squad that LAFC defeated in the first match of the season at Banc of California Stadium, 2-0. It was the first-ever match for the expansion side, and as LAFC knows all too well, it would be a mistake to take the newness for weakness.
Austin is unbeaten in their last two matches, first drawing versus reigning MLS Champion Columbus Crew 0-0 and then downing LAFC rival Portland Timbers 4-1 on July 1.
The history between the two clubs is incredibly fresh, but LAFC is about to find out for the first time what it is like to play away in Q2 Stadium.
AUSTIN FC IN-DEPTH
An expansion club built in a similar mold to LAFC that has seen its recent success driven by goalkeeper Brad Stuver, who has only allowed 12 goals in 12 matches this season. Austin is also coming off a statement win against Portland that will help boost confidence and moral immensely as they look towards just their fourth-ever match at home at the brand new Q2 Stadium.
Austin has yet to be defeated at home, going 1-2-0 through their first three home matches.
THREE MATCHES. TWO CLEAN SHEETS.
20-year-old goalkeeper Tomás Romero has emerged as a legitimate challenger for LAFC’s top goalkeeper spot. In just three MLS starts, Romero has already produced two clean sheets and a record of 2-0-1.
“That little competition in training is so important for both of us [Pablo Sisniega] because I don't know moving forward, who's going to be starting,” said Romero. “I just know that I have to do my best to keep playing and I kind of had that mentality. I thought Pablo got the better of me during training this week, so I'm just happy I got the got the start again and I showed what I can do.”
LAFC WILL WIN IF
They can successfully disrupt Austin as they try to build out of the back by creating quick, direct and successful attacks against their goal.
Austin FC CAN WIN IF
They can win the battle of the set pieces.
Inspired by Alien (1979).