Last Place Austin FC Takes at Crack at LA Galaxy
The MLS weekend concludes on Sunday night with a Western Conference clash between Austin FC and the Los Angeles Galaxy. This match brings together an expansion team that’s playing its first season with one of the league’s most prestigious franchises. Surprisingly, the Galaxy is not favored in the game despite a large gap in the standings between Austin and Los Angeles.
According to BetUS, Austin is a slight favorite with a +150 moneyline. The Galaxy’s moneyline is listed at +190, while there is a moneyline of +235 for a draw. There is also an over/under of three total goals being scored in the match.
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Bottom of the Barrel
There has been no shortage of excitement around Austin FC this year, although the club’s inaugural season hasn’t exactly been a success on the field. Josh Wolff’s team has just five wins in 25 games, putting them at the bottom of the Western Conference with just 19 points. With nine games on the schedule, they are 15 points out of a playoff spot and seven points from getting out of the Western Conference basement.
As for the Galaxy is in good shape but can’t take anything for granted down the stretch. With 38 points through 25 matches, Los Angeles is currently fourth in the Western Conference. But they have just a five-point cushion when it comes to securing a playoff spot, so this is not the time for the Galaxy to be dropping points.
If you’re wondering why the Galaxy is an underdog against a last-place team, it’s because Los Angeles is winless in six straight games. Greg Vanney’s team has hit a rough patch and hasn’t been able to fight its way out of it. Things went bad to worse last weekend when the Galaxy suffered a 3-0 loss against Minnesota, surrendering two goals within the first 20 minutes.
Needless to say, the Galaxy’s struggles are puzzling because they have a top-flight scorer in Javier Hernandez, who has scored 11 goals in just 13 matches this season. Hernandez has played in three matches since returning from injury but has only scored one goal. The Galaxy needs to get more out of players like midfielder Sebastian Lietget until Hernandez can find his rhythm because Los Angeles needs to make up for a subpar defense that’s conceded 12 goals during the six-match winless run.
Only Getting Worse
Three-quarters through their inaugural season, one would expect some amount of progress from Austin FC, but that’s yet to be the case. The league’s newest club has lost five straight matches, offering little hope for the stretch run of the season. The most disappointing part for Wolff is that his team is still hemorrhaging goals, conceding 16 times in the team’s last five games.
To be fair, Austin is at least scoring more frequently, scoring eight goals in those five matches while only getting shut out once. They even scored three first-half goals against San Jose last week but couldn’t hold a 3-1 halftime lead. Despite finding new ways of scoring goals and getting production from a variety of sources, the Austin FC defense needs to improve if they hope to pull off a few surprises coming down the stretch.
Let the Goals Fly
The best bet in this match might be taking the over on three total goals being scored. Austin can’t seem to stop allowing goals while the Galaxy has the firepower behind Hernandez to take advantage of such a porous defensive team. Meanwhile, the Galaxy hasn’t been particularly stout defensively either over the last few weeks, so Austin should have no problem finding the back of the net once or twice, leading to way more than three goals in this match.