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Denis Bouanga reaffirms MLS MVP credentials as LAFC find their groove

LAFC forward Denis Bouanga reaffirmed his candidacy for MLS MVP after scoring a double in the victory against Austin FC.

Oct 7, 2023; Austin, Texas, USA; Los Angeles FC forward Denis Bouanga (99) shoots the ball during the first half at Q2 Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Erich Schlegel-USA TODAY Sports
Erich SchlegelUSA TODAY Sports via Reuters Con

The big news in MLS over the weekend was was the return of Leo Messi to action with Inter Miami despite the Argentine being unable to help the Herons in their tilt at a playoff place as they lost 0-1 to Cincinnati.

MLS to broadcast Inter Miami friendly live
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Inter Miami CF forward Lionel Messi (10) looks on against FC CincinnatiSam NavarroUSA TODAY Sports via Reuters Con

In the Western Conference, LAFC forward Denis Bouanga scored a double in the resounding 2-4 victory secured by the Black and Gold away against Austin FC which broke Texan dreams of a playoff place as Steve Cherundolo’s men come to the boil after a recent dip in form.

Bouanga has now bagged 19 goals in the MLS 2023 regular season and moves ahead of Acosta (FC Cincinnati) who is on 16 for the season to date with the LAFC striker a solid bet for the MVP award.

Eyes set on playoffs

The win in Texas against Austin guarantees LAFC home advantage in two of the three playoff games and sees the current MLS Cup holders rediscover their form following a poor spell after the Leagues Cup. Before the past two MLS games, the Black and Gold went four games without scoring but have made amends with nine goals in their past two MLS games (5-1 vs. Minnesota and the 2-4 win at Austin) to sent a warning to the rest of the MLS sides.