Western Conference Finals Rematch
The Black and Gold welcomed Austin Fc to BMO stadium for an intense matchup. In 2022 Austin FC won both regular season matchups against Los Angelinos. However, LAFC would have the last laugh as they would defeat Austin in the Western Conference Finals 3-0. Which then lead LAFC to win the 2022 MLS Cup. For a 4:30 Pacific Time start, and the day before easter, BMO Stadium would have a packed house with the energy barely being able to be contained.
First Half Analysis
Los Angeles would line up an alternative squad for this key matchup. Just two days removed from their impressive 3-0 victory in Vancouver, LAFC needed to give a couple of players a rest. The changes were made on all three fronts, defensive, midfield, and in the attack. Janupovic made his first start in goal along with Denil Maldonado on the backline. Cifuentes was among the switches in the midfield, and Stipe Biuk made a start-up top for the Black and Gold. LAFC got off to a quick start but couldn’t capitalize on a counterattack by Bouanga. Apart from that situation, LAFC had just two shots on target in the first half. With the closest being a shot on goal by Biuk. Until the 40th minute, when the deadlock would be broken. As Denis Bouanga scored the opening goal of the match! Giving Denis his fourth goal of the season! From there, the tide would turn in LAFC’s favor, and they would go on to control the rest of the game.
Second Half Analysis
LAFC would start the second half with the same intensity they ended the first. Bouanga almost scored his second of the night just seconds into the start, but his shot would be off by a few mililimeters. He would then go on and get his revenge as he would double LAFC’s lead in the 57th minute! Scoring a screamer off a clearance from a corner kick! With the two-goal advantage, LAFC could choose to slow down the pace of play. Instead, they ramped up the intensity. They were bringing on a couple of luxury substitutes. Ryan Hollingshead, Ilie Sanchez, and Carlos Vela entered in the 61st minute. However, even with those names on the pitch, the man that stole the show was Denis Bouanga, as he would score once again! Tripiling LAFC’s lead and nabbing himself a hat-trick! Just a few minutes after scoring his third goal, Denis would be substituted, and he walked off with a standing ovation and chants of M-V-P! LAFC also recorded another shutout. Making it back-to-back games, leaving their goal is zero. Going to show that they have found a strong foundation in the back. With this win, LAFC moves into 3rd place with 14 points.
It would be deja vu at BMO Stadium as LAFC defeated Austin FC once again 3-0 in what has to be one of their most dominant performances of the season. LAFC reminds all of MLS why they are the team to beat! Denis Bouanga continues with his hot streak as he totals six goals in MLS play and five in CCL for a whopping 11 goals on the year! LAFC showed that even with a completely alternative club, they can go toe-to-toe with any team. They are getting production from all the attacking players, which was a massive concern after Chicho’s departure. They currently remain undefeated in MLS and are firing on all cylinders. Now they flip the switch to CCL play as they host the Whitecaps for the return leg of the quarterfinals. From there, LAFC will have another huge test as they will make the trip down to Carson for the first El Trafico of the season! Even though the two teams are on the complete opposite spectrum this season, LAFC has yet to win at Dignity Health Sports park. This could be the perfect time to break that streak and add more agony to an already lousy start for the Galaxy. LA is setting themselves up for another wonderful season if they can continue repeating these spectacular performances.