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Who has the upper hand here?
Is it Austin FC? Although they’ll be hosting Sunday’s match, they’ll be doing so on a current five-game losing streak in MLS.
The LA Galaxy haven’t been near as embarrassing with only one loss in their last four, but it should be mentioned that those three other results were draws.
In a battle between two teams with plenty to prove, the Galaxy might be the ones who end up with three points.
They’ve been decent in their away results, they haven’t had as many problems as Austin, and most importantly, they’ll likely have a lethal goalscorer ready to make his mark.
It really is worrisome to see what has happened to Austin.
After kicking off their debut season with two wins in their first three games, Austin have since plummeted down the Western Conference table.
They not only have five consecutive losses in MLS, but also have just one victory in their last nine matches. What has gone wrong with Austin?
It’s a never-ending dilemma for Austin. Once one of the worst attacking teams in MLS, they’ve recently made more of an effort to take risks and push forward with their chances.
What has followed is a slight uptick in goals, and of the 25 they’ve scored in the entirety of the season, 15 have arrived since August.
And yet, in that desperation, they’ve only clinched two victories from those 15 goals.
Why? As they’ve pushed forward, Austin have left themselves defensively vulnerable. Take for example their last seven games. Of those seven, there was just one instance in which they had a higher xG (expected goals) rating than their opponents.
This attempt to find a balance between the defense and attack is a troublesome one for young manager Josh Wolff.
Galaxy management aren’t taking their chances with star striker Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez.
After the Mexican forward returned from injury earlier this month, the Galaxy gave him two starts and then eventually a rest over the weekend in the latest 3-0 loss to Minnesota United.
With limited time on the pitch, Hernandez looked to be fully fit and energetic as he and other 2nd half substitutes attempted to salvage something late in the game.
Yes, the Galaxy are struggling and yes they haven’t won since last month, but assuming that Hernandez will be fully fit, they have a good chance against a weak Austin side.
Keep in mind, Hernandez is also averaging a goal every 95 minutes.
It’s going to be incredibly difficult for Austin to claim points without Alexander Ring.
The midfielder, who earned a red during last week’s 4-3 loss to the San Jose Earthquakes, will now be suspended for the upcoming match against the Galaxy.
Ring not only leads the team in tackles but also in passing as well. He’s a disruptor and distributor that is capable of doing both with ease, and without him, Austin won’t be the same.
|Austin FC vs LA Galaxy Information|
|Teams||Austin FC vs LA Galaxy|
|Location||Q2 Stadium (Austin, Texas)|
|Time||Sunday, September 26th at 6:30 pm PT/9:30 pm ET|
|How to Watch||ESPN 2, ESPN Deportes|
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Freelance writer Cesar Hernandez is a specialist in all things American and Mexican soccer. He has written for ESPN FC, The Athletic, The Guardian, FourFourTwo, VICE Sports and several other publications. Along with writing and previous radio appearances on the BBC, talkSPORT and SiriusXM FC, Cesar is also a member of the Mexican Soccer Show podcast. Email: [email protected]More info on Cesar Hernandez
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