Austin FC-Galaxy Preview
Javier 'Chicharito' Hernandez declared LA Galaxy "know how to suffer" after their 2-1 derby victory over Los Angeles FC, with expansion side Austin FC up next.
The Galaxy bounced back from a 3-0 defeat to Seattle Sounders by claiming an El Trafico victory last week. MLS' top scorer Hernandez netted the opener before setting up Jonathan dos Santos' winner.
It makes it three wins from four for Greg Vanney's team, who sits third in the Western Conference. Austin, meanwhile, suffered its second defeat of the season when it went down to Sporting Kansas City last week.
And Galaxy's resilience against LAFC proved to Hernandez just how much grit the team has.
"It's just amazing to feel that energy of when the results come, when you give everything," Hernandez said. "We knew how to suffer, and that resilience – resilience of not falling, to keep working, and keep looking, and have a lot of confidence – is incredible."
Austin led for much of the game against Sporting through Jon Gallagher's early opener, only to concede twice in the space of eight minutes late on.
"I think we take the things that we did good from this game and the things we did well in the first three (matches) and we (look at) all that optimistically," said defender Nick Lima. "We're a good team. I think Kansas City got fortunate got to (play against) 10 men. I feel like we could have won."
Austin is ninth in the Western Conference as it stands, though a win on Saturday would take them level on points with the Galaxy.
LA Galaxy – Javier Hernandez
Hernandez is already on six goals for the season through his first four games, and with the former Manchester United striker in such hot form, the Galaxy will be dreaming of an MLS Cup challenge should the Mexican maintain his standards and avoid injury.
Austin FC – Jon Gallagher
Gallagher got off the mark for Austin with his seventh-minute effort against Kansas City. The forward netted four times for Atlanta United last year, and now his account has been opened with his new team, he will not want to look back.
Dignity Health Sports Park has not been a welcoming site for expansion sides, as the Galaxy have won six of their last seven home matches against MLS newcomers (D1 vs LAFC in 2018). The last expansion side to win at the Galaxy was Seattle, which recorded a 2-0 win in Carson in 2009.
After a four-match home losing streak late last season, the Galaxy are unbeaten in their last five matches at Dignity Health Sports Park (W4 D1).
Austin has scored five goals in their first four MLS matches. Last season's expansion teams, Nashville SC and Inter Miami, scored five combined goals in their first five matches.
Only Edson Buddle (seven goals for the Galaxy in 2010) has scored more goals in his team's first four matches of an MLS season than Chicharito (six, tied with four other players).
Two Austin players have scored three career goals against the Galaxy: Diego Fagundez scored three times with New England against LA from 2013 to 2018 while Kekuta Manneh scored his three goals against the Galaxy with Vancouver in 2014 and 2015.
Updated May 14, 2021