Two out of form teams clash on Sunday evening, as Austin FC play host to the Los Angeles Galaxy at Q2 Stadium. Can the hosts pick up their first points in six matches? Can Galaxy get their first win in seven?
This will be the second time that the two teams have faced each other this season. Back in May, Galaxy won the reverse fixture by two goals to nil.
Austin FC – Out of sorts
Austin FC is a team in disarray right now. They’ve come up short in each of their last five games and have now collected points from just one of their nine in Major League Soccer. Not only is a lack of wins disappointing, but the lack of being able to fight hard to grab a point from time to time is also a problem.
It’s not as if Sunday’s hosts have been getting battered, but they just can’t quite seem to get a result, losing each of their last two by a single goal. And even when they hit the heights offensively, they still seem to let themselves down. In two of their last five, the Austin boys scored three goals without leaving the field with anything to show for their efforts. This tells us that defensively, they’re someway below the level required.
Expected Line-Up: Pending
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Los Angeles Galaxy – Visitors slipping
Fortunately for the hosts, they’re not the only ones struggling at present. The Los Angeles Galaxy are going through their own rough spell, a spell that has now lasted six matches, three of which they’ve lost. Unlike the hosts, Galaxy have been able to grind out some draws of late, which doesn soften the blow, but the fact remains that they’re out of form.
Another similarity that Sunday’s visitors share with Austin FC is their inability to keep teams at bay. Greg Vanney’s men have conceded in each of their last six, conceding two or more in four of those six. Such a record is unlikely to leave the home side feeling scared.
Expected Line-Up: Pending
Expert Pick #1 – Austin to Win @+145
For all they are hugely out of form, the hosts, though it may be hard to believe, look a reasonable bet at the prices.Yes, they haven’t won for five matches, and yes they’re without even a single point since then, but if we strip things back, there’s reason to believe that they should be slightly stronger favourites on home soil.
For a start, the hosts have done their best work at home, which is where each of their last three wins have come. At home, they have a goal difference of -3, which is better than Galaxy’s of -9 on the road. Plus, Josh Wolff’s men have an expected goal difference of -0.15 at home, which while not good isn’t terrible, or at least it’s better than the xG difference of Galaxy on the road, which currently stands at -0.54.
Expert Pick #2 – Austin FC to Score Over 1.5 Goals @+100
At home, the goals have flowed for Austin FC of late, and this match against a struggling Galaxy defense provides the hosts with another good opportunity to hit their offensive stride. The visitors have surrendered just over two goals per away game on average, while they’ve performed poorly in terms of xG against, conceding an average of 1.73. On their travels, Vanney’s side are without a clean sheet in eight games, six of which they’ve shipped more than once.
Having scored three times in three of their last four at home, scoring an average of 2.33 in their last six at Q2 Stadium.
Expert Pick #3 – Jon Gallagher to Score @+240
It’s hardly been a prolific campaign for Austin forward Jon Gallagher, but the Irishman has been a fixture in the side, while he’s no stranger to getting himself into goal-scoring positions. For those interested in a player prop, with an average of 0.35 expected goals per 90, Gallagher, against opposition that has not exactly been tough at the back in recent times, rates as a decent bet at a decent price.
This one could go either way. Both teams are quite badly out of form and thus both will see it as an opportunity to win, though as touched on above, the hosts appear to be the team to follow at the current odds. Wolff’s men have delivered some pleasing attacking efforts at home of late and, as long as they can continue in the same vein, they should be rewarded soon.