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Los Angeles FC, Austin FC meet amid huge playoff implications

Los Angeles FC look to end the playoff hopes of Austin FC and build momentum for the postseason when the two sides square off Saturday in Austin in a key late-season match.

LAFC (13-10-9, 48 points) have already garnered a spot in the playoffs but can clinch home-pitch advantage in the first round. Los Angeles cannot win the West but can move up to second in the conference with a win.

Meanwhile, Austin (10-14-8, 38 points) must win Saturday and in its last game in San Jose on Oct. 21 while getting some help with losses from the teams above it in the standings to earn a return trip to the postseason.

Austin plays at home for the final time after a rousing 3-0 win over D.C. United last Saturday. The victory emphatically snapped the Verde’s 10-game winless streak in combined Leagues Cup and MLS play, the longest run without a victory in club history, and was Austin’s win since July 15.

Sebastian Driussi scored a goal and an assist as he played through a lingering groin injury to lead the Verde. Will Bruin and Matt Hedges also found the net for Austin.

“Obviously, we needed to get three points, and it’s been a long time coming,” Austin coach Josh Wolff said. “It was a good testament of who our players are and what their character has been. They fight, they grind. I think they’re all disappointed with the way a lot of these games have gone.

“We’ve given ourselves a bit of a heartbeat. We’ll get ready and try to get fresh for LAFC.”

Los Angeles FC heads to Austin on the heels of a 5-1 win over Minnesota United on Wednesday. Denis Bouanga racked up a hat trick in the first half. Bouanga now has a league-best 17 goals in 29 MLS games and earned Player of the Matchday for Matchday 36 for his efforts.

LAFC also got a tally from Filip Krastev, and Minnesota surrendered an own goal to help the defending league champions improve to 2-1-2 over their past five MLS matches.

“Just continue the course, keep working, put your head down, put in the hard work in the training field, which guys have done,” LAFC coach Steve Cherundolo said about his team’s production. “it’s a little bit like riding a bike — guys know how to do it, they know how to play, they know how to score.”

LAFC dominated Austin 3-0 in the teams’ first meeting of the year on April 8 in Los Angeles.

–Field Level Media

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