MLS

Austin FC v LAFC: Cherundolo hopeful of maintaining 'contagious' winning feeling

By Sports Desk June 17, 2024

Los Angeles FC head coach Steve Cherundolo is hoping to maintain their "contagious" winning feeling when they travel to the Q2 Stadium to take on Austin FC. 

The Black and Gold are unbeaten in their previous six MLS fixtures after emerging 3–1 victors away at Orlando City last time out to keep them within striking distance of league leaders Real Salt Lake.

Cherundolo's team have the comfort of an extra game in hand over the surrounding sides, but the 45-year-old wants an improved performance after their display last week. 

"Winning is contagious, and winning is important," Cherundolo said. "Winning away from home is a lot of fun. 

"It certainly wasn't one of our prettiest games, but we had solutions at times, but not all the time. We were hoping to manage our game a little better in possession, but we were unable to do that. 

"That is what we will take away for something to improve on, but the result, the effort are some big pluses to take away from tonight."

Meanwhile, Austin are eighth in the Western Conference having suffered a third consecutive defeat as they went down to the Colorado Rapids.

Austin are winless in their last three games against their opponents, and head coach Josh Wolff expects another difficult encounter on Thursday. 

"LAFC are one of the best teams in the league," Wolff began. "They have enough weapons, and their attacking players are ruthless and are extremely dangerous.

"For me they are the best team in the league once again. I think they have so much talent and so much depth which goes a long way in this league. If it's a difficult day, they still have players to make plays. 

"We have got to do better with our chances. Our key players have to perform and execute."

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Austin FC – Sebastian Driussi

The Austin captain will hope to mark his 100th appearance for the club with a goal, and is currently the top scorer for the Verde and Black's with five goals. 

LAFC – Mateusz Bogusz

Mateusz Bogusz has been involved in a goal in six consecutive league matches with four goals and two assists. 

Only Carlos Vela (11 in 2019-20) has produced more in LAFC history, while only two players (Luciano Acosta - nine, Lionel Messi - eight) have had a longer streak in MLS this season.

MATCH PREDICTION: LAFC WIN

LAFC enter the contest as the favourites to emerge with the three points.

Cherundolo's side have won eight consecutive matches in all competitions. The only MLS team to win nine straight matches outright (excluding breakaway shootout wins) in all competitions were the Seattle Sounders in 2018.

The Black and Gold's are unbeaten in their last three meetings with Austin scoring at least three goals in each of those triumphs. 

Austin's last victory over their opponents came in 2022, with the Texas side winning both of their MLS encounters with LAFC that season. 

OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

Austin FC - 27.6%

Draw - 24.1%

LAFC - 48.3%

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    "With Emil the situation is now clear, but we also played the last two games without Emil," Schwarz said. "We showed, for me, very good performances.

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    PLAYERS TO WATCH 

    Colorado Rapids – Cole Bassett

    Bassett, Kevin Cabral and Jonathan Lewis all had a goal and an assist in the Rapids' 4-1 win over St. Louis last Sunday, the first time three Rapids players had done so in the same match since 2008 – Mehdi Ballouchy, Colin Clark and Tom McManus versus the Red Bulls.

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    MATCH PREDICTION: DRAW

    The Rapids have won their last two meetings with the Red Bulls, including an incredible 5-4 victory the last time the sides faced off in 2022. Colorado had only won three of their previous 12 matches against them in all competitions dating back to 2010.

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    OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

    Colorado Rapids – 36.8%

    New York Red Bulls – 37%

    Draw – 26.3%

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    MATCH PREDICTION: PHILADELPHIA UNION WIN

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    Toronto FC have lost six straight regular-season matches for the sixth time since the start of the 2021 season. They had one losing streak of six or more matches in their first 14 MLS seasons (2007-20).

    OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

    Toronto FC – 30.2%

    Draw – 24.9%

    Philadelphia Union – 44.9%

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