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%

Related items

  • FC Cincinnati v Chicago Fire: Noonan desperate for response after 'flat' performance FC Cincinnati v Chicago Fire: Noonan desperate for response after 'flat' performance

    FC Cincinnati head coach Pat Noonan is desperate to find a remedy for his side's "flat" performance last time out, ahead of Chicago Fire's midweek MLS visit.

    The Orange and Blue produced arguably their worst performance of their season during Sunday's 3-1 home defeat against Charlotte FC.

    Cincinnati will have another chance to respond at TQL Stadium, bidding to remain top of the Eastern Conference standings after a surprise defeat in their last encounter.

    Home head coach Noonan acknowledged his side must perform better.

    "Our first 35 minutes were probably the worst of the year," Noonan said of the Charlotte showing. "We weren't ready, and that starts with me.

    "I have to look at why it was so flat… A lot of poor performances and some avoidable mistakes on the two goals that really put the momentum in their favour.

    "I think the warning signs, in terms of how we've conceded, have been there for a couple weeks now.

    "There was loss of concentration, lost a mark, set pieces again… some things that we will continue to try to find answers to. Yeah, the way we're conceding goals is concerning."

    The Fire, in stark contrast to Cincinnati at the summit, are just one spot from the bottom of the East table.

    Chicago did manage a goalless draw with New York City FC, however, in their last match and keeping them ahead of bottom side Philadelphia Union.

    Frank Klopas' side have accumulated 10 points from their last seven outings, though their away form is the worst in the Eastern Conference – with just seven points from 33 available on the road.

    PLAYERS TO WATCH

    FC Cincinnati – Luciano Acosta

    Luciano Acosta has been the leading light for Cincinnati's attack this year, sitting top of the club's scoring charts with 11 goals from 23 MLS appearances.

    The Orange and Blue forward will be integral once more if the hosts are to down the struggling Fire here.

    Chicago Fire – Hugo Cuypers

    It remains to be seen whether Xherdan Shaqiri will return from Euro 2024 in time for this one, having announced his international retirement for Switzerland on Monday.

    Hugo Cuypers will be expected to step up in his absence again, with the striker scoring nine goals for Chicago in MLS this season – at least four more than any other team-mate.

    MATCH PREDICTION – FC CINCINNATI WIN

    The home side are the dominant favourites for this clash, with the Opta supercomputer backing their victory chances at a hefty 66.1% from their data-led pre-match simulations.

    Cincinnati have triumphed in 12 of their last 15 MLS matches, although three defeats have come in their past eight such outings.

    That trio of losses have all come on their home ground, too, yet Cincinnati will be confident of getting over the line in this one.

    Klopas' visitors have failed to score in their last two outings, and that will only boost the hosts' hopes heading into this midweek clash.

    OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

    FC Cincinnati win – 66.1%

    Draw – 18.4%

    Chicago Fire win – 15.5%

  • Atletico shift Saul out on loan to LaLiga rivals Sevilla Atletico shift Saul out on loan to LaLiga rivals Sevilla

    Saul Niguez has moved from Atletico Madrid on loan to Sevilla with the option of an extension after the 2024-25 campaign.

    Both LaLiga clubs confirmed the transfer agreement on Monday, with each side referencing the "possibility of an extension" past the upcoming season.

    The 29-year-old has started just 25 La Liga games across the last two seasons for Atletico, who are reportedly keen to reduce their expenditure on their first-team squad salary.

    Reports in Spain suggest the midfielder has a three-year offer from league rivals Sevilla, though a complex transfer means the deal cannot be described as a purchase option with the possibility of a return to Atletico.

    Saul made 49 appearances for Diego Simeone's men last season, though starts were limited as Atletico finished fourth in the Spanish top flight.

    He has been capped 19 times by Spain and made 23 appearances for Chelsea, his last loan spell in the 2022-23 season before returning to Simeone's team.

    Saul's addition marks the fourth arrival in Andalusia, with Arsenal's Albert Sambi Lokonga also loaned, along with moves for Chidera Ejuke and Peque Fernandez.

  • Ten Hag slams 'not good enough' Man Utd after surprise friendly defeat to Rosenborg Ten Hag slams 'not good enough' Man Utd after surprise friendly defeat to Rosenborg

    Erik ten Hag slammed Manchester United as "by far not good enough" after their shock friendly defeat to Rosenborg on Monday.

    The Red Devils suffered a late 1-0 loss at Lerkendal Stadion after Noah Holm's 93rd-minute winner.

    An underwhelming performance in their first pre-season game was in stark contrast to their last outing before that, a 2-1 victory over rivals Manchester City in the FA Cup final.

    Rosenborg were denied by the woodwork on four separate occasions while attempting 22 shots to United's meagre five.

    Ten Hag started the likes of Casemiro, Jonny Evans, Marcus Rashford, Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Mason Mount, leaving the United boss somewhat furious with their efforts in Trondheim.

    "The result is not secondary. We play pre-season but at Manchester United, there's a standard," said Ten Hag to MUTV after the game.

    "You win games. Definitely, you don't lose games. If you can't win, don't lose the game as we did at the end, the last second of the game.

    "The performance is more important. The performance was below standard."

    Radek Vitek, United's 20-year-old goalkeeper, was forced into seven saves in a one-sided pre-season meeting as the only Red Devils player to impress.

    "Let's say he got the opportunity from the team to make some very good saves because our performance as a team is by far not good enough," Ten Hag responded when asked about Vitek's showing.

    "I have seen this is not the standard for top football. Top football, you have to achieve much higher standards. It starts with any individual, make sure you are fit.

    "I know we can't be match fit in this moment, therefore, you need these games. I know we are playing an opponent who are in their league, they have a much higher fitness level.

    "But still we are Man Utd and players and teams from Man Utd must perform better."

    Ten Hag's only credit from the game was placed on the youngsters who came on at half-time in wholesale changes.

    "They always listen, they try to transfer. We didn't succeed today," the Dutchman said of his younger players.

    "But the attitude, they want to transfer the coaching play model, they are always willing to do it. But it is clear today we didn't transfer it to the pitch."

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.