LAFC Defeats Austin FC to Become Western Conference Champions; Set to Host MLS Cup Final
The Los Angeles Football Club (LAFC) is the 2022 MLS Western Conference Champions. Thanks to a 3-0 win over Austin FC, the Black and Gold will be hosting the MLS Cup on Sunday, November 6th.
The only other time LAFC found themselves on the cusp of the MLS Cup Final, was in 2019 in front of a raucous home crowd where ultimately LAFC was defeated 3-1 by the Seattle Sounders.
On Sunday afternoon a packed Banc of Californa Stadium was hoping for a different outcome. Standing in their way was Austin FC one of two clubs to win on the Black and Gold’s home pitch this season.
LAFC thoroughly dominated Austin on the pitch and on the score sheet. LAFC put 10 shots on goal to Austin’s one, and spent 75% of their possession in the attacking half.
Austin FC coach Josh Wolff praised LAFC’s efforts stating: “They were very relentless in the midfield and didn’t give us a lot room, they turned us over in the middle and it made it tougher for us.”
LAFC’s aggressive play was evident from the beginning, and they were rewarded going ahead 1-0 in the 29th minute on a Cristian “Chicho” Arango header. A fitting beginning as it was also Arango who scored the winning goal in LAFC’s opening round playoff win against the LA Galaxy.
LAFC should’ve been lead long by more than one goal heading into halftime but Austin goalkeeper Brad Stuver came up with six saves to keep his team in the game.
Sports is sometimes about a little luck and in the 62nd minute LAFC unintentionally capitalized off theirs after winning another corner kick, a Carlos Vela cross deflected of Ryan Hollingshead and it hit Austin FC forward Maximiliano Urruti in the shoulder and into his own net.
With a 2-0 score supporters in the stands could breathe easier but the Black and Gold would not let up, and in the 81st minute super sub Mahala Opoku put the game away scoring LAFC’s third and final goal crowning them Western Conference champions.
“We’re excited about making the MLS Final, that was our objective and the guys did an emphatic job of making sure there was only one team playing here next Saturday,” said head coach Steve Cherundolo post-match.
With the focus now moving onto the MLS Cup Final, goalkeeper Maxime Crepeau set the tone for the team’s attitude as they strive to win the title.
“The jobs not done our mentality is one more…”
One more win to reach glory…