LAFC 3-0 Austin FC summary: score, goals, highlights, MLS Western Conference final 2022
LAFC 3-0 Austin FC
A solid performance from the 'Black and Gold' on Sunday afternoon as they brushed aside any resistance from an Austin FC side who never got into their stride.
Goals from Arango, an own goal from Urriti and a late strike from Ghanian substitute Opoku were enough to delight the 22,000 home fans packed inside a sold out Banc of California Stadium.
Next Saturday's MLS Cup final will be staged at the same venue with Steve Cherundolo's men set to face the winners of the Eastern Conference final as the Union face reigning champions NYCFC.
Bet against this LAFC side at your peril !
The whistle does sound now and LAFC clinch a place in the 2022 MLS Cup final for the first time in their short history.
That will be the hottest ticket in town.
There was no hint of an offside but there may have been a foul leading up to the Bouanga strike.
Referee Villarreal is speaking to VAR and waves the game on...
A 10/10 for the 3252 supporters group who have been relentless in noise making this afternoon. From the first minute to the final...
Goooool. Bouanga makes it 4.... no ....hang on, the flag is up and Austin are spared....
The 'Ole's' ring out now with LAFC supporters savouring every moment and next stop ...MLS Cup final ....back at the Banc of California Stadium next Saturday.
Five minutes have been confirmed. The LAFC fans taunt Austin with a rendition of "Na na na na na hey, hey...goodbye"
Austin fans will still point to that possible penalty kick when Austin were 2-0 down. At the same time, no-one can take away from the fact 'Los Verdes' have been outclassed in LA this afternoon.
A card is shown and Urruti shows frustration with the game and lashes out.
The LAFC fans are buzzing now with the small green sector silenced by that third Opoku goal.
Not even Austin FC can come back from this predicament.
No action from Gareth Bale and his lack of action must be a certain concern for Wales fans.
LAFC have just over eight minutes to hold out and stake a place in their first ever MLS Cup final, a game that will be played here in Los Angeles next Saturday with the 'Black & Gold' set to face the winners of NYCFC-Philadelphia Union.
Opoku makes it three as the Austin defence make it easy for the Ghanian.
Crepeau has really had little or nothing to do this evening with Austin FC still yet to muster a single shot on target.... LAFC have had 9 and that tells all you need to know about how this game has panned out.
We're getting closer to discovering the name of the first 2022 MLS Cup finalist and indeed the venue where that game will be played with the Black and Gold set to secure a home game.
Carlos Vela subbed with Mendez his replacement.
Austin really have to go for it now... Just over 15' remain and the side in green really need a goal urgently to make this tie really interesting.
Change for Austin as Felipe comes on for Perreira.
Opoku on for Arango.
That certainly looked like a penalty kick, what will referee Villarreal say as he checks the monitor.
The match official has ruled out a spot kick to the delight of the home crowd. The Austin man did make a meal of things.
Fagundez is clipped and goes down rather dramatically. The Austin man was clipped and this could be a penalty kick.
Wolff set to make another change with Felipe poised to make an entrance.
So, what have Austin got in terms of character?
The 'verdes' need two goals to take this game to extra time and to be honest that seems like a tall order from what we've seen this afternoon so far.
The ball nestles in the Austin net and it's Urruti who steers the ball into his own net. Another corner and another LAFC goal.
Changes for Austin
Rigoni and Djitte off with Finlay and Urutti on
Austin need to get Driussi into the game. We've yet to see the Argentine striker in action.
Once again Arango fires straight at Stuver and the 31-year-old keeper palms away.
Rigoni gives the ball away and LAFC break but Arango fails to secure the accuracxy and drives the ball straight into the arms of the LAFC keeper.
Best chance of the half falls to Hollingshead as Stuver does well again in palming the ball away.
Decent chance seconds before as Vela fails to get correct purchase on the ball.
Vela carded as he clips Gabrilesen with studs showing from the Mexican.
There is certainly a feeling that another goal for the home side would be curtains for Austin.
That said, the visiting side have started with a higher level of intensity but are still being shaded by the men in black.
The small away sector does its bit in trying to rally the side from Texas along as Austin win a corner. Once again, a poor delivery and easy for the home side to clear the danger.
Crepeau fists away when Hollingshead seemed to have the ball under control but once again the corner comes to nothing.
The Italian seems to have tweaked a calf muscle and as the camera pans to the veteran defender we can see that the LAFC physio team have been busy in applying ice to the affceted area.
Chiellini making way at the break with Ibegha his replacement.
So what can Austin offer as they start the second half?
The whistle sounds and LAFC head in ahead at the break. The best news from an Austin perspective is the scoreline with the home side well on top.
Arango with the goal that, as things stand, will send the Black & Gold into their first ever MLS Cup final... which, incidentally would be held back here at the Banc of California stadium on 5 November.
From what we've seen tonight, it's difficult to believe that this Austin side have won both their MLS games against LAFC this season. The men in green simply haven't turned up and it will take some strong motivational words from Josh Wolff at the break.
We'll have 4 minutes of added time.
We have seen nothing from Driussi tonight with the Argentine barely getting a touch today.
Into the last minute we go and it's been a masterclass so far from the Black and Gold.
Cifuentes with the 14th effort of the first half and once again Stuver is forced to save well as the keeper palms away.
Austin are being totally outclassed as Vela breaks through on goal and fires straight at Stuver.
A 1-0 scoreline for the visitors s probably the best news for Austin manager Wolff as the pressure from the home side has been relentless.
Bale warms up on the touchline with the Welsh start having only made 2 starts for LAFC
Cherundolo's men still applying all the pressure here and the side from Texas are really on the ropes as they are forced to defend a series of corners.
Shots on/off target from Austin in the 40 minutes of action: 0
Rigoni was eventually carded for the foul on Palacios
Play held up as Palacios gets a shoulder to the face as Rigoni really takes the LAFC man who finally gets to his feet and Rigoni really should have his name taken for that challenge.
Ten minutes remain in the half and Austin have still yet to create any danger on the LAFC goal.
You can't say that goal wasn't coming .... LAFC have dominated from the off and look really dangerous with the Arango, Vela and Bouanga trio really causing problems for the Austin FC defenders.
Lima carded for a robust challenge
Bouanga almost scores as Stuver goes out of his box to intercept a long ball and get it wrong......
The game being played almost exclusively now in the Austin half as the men in green are being pegged back. Crepeau yet to be called upon in the LAFC goal.
Vela has a go from long range but the Mexican could have looked inside with other options available. LAFC are really carving open the mint green shirts with ease and Josh Wolff will want to address this porous midfield that his side are offering.
The noise levels from the home fans has been excellent, since the first minute of the game, there has been a wall of sound led by the 3252 supporters group.
Cifuentes thunders the ball against the post in the best chance of the game. The ball rebounds into open play but a defender is fouled and Austin can take a breather. Stuver may have got a glove to the effort but it's the home side who are edging closer to finding the opening goal of the day.
Free for LAFC, about 25 yards out and in front of the North Stand where the 3252 fans are gathered, Vela and Acosta over the ball and in the end it's Acosta who strikes but blazes well over.
Good counter from LAFC as Vela and Bouanga combine. The LAFC striker trips under his own momentum and the move breaks down.
LAFC lead 51-49 (%) on possession with no real clear-cut chances yet to be carved out by either side.
It's been a cagey start with both sides feeling their way into the game...LAFC enjoying the better of the action so far
First effort on target today comes from Arango but the LAFC striker hits the ball tamely and that is easy for the Austin stopper to deal with.
Don't forget, the winners of tonight's Western Conference final will face either the Philadelphia Union or NYCFC with that game set to be played later on Sunday.
First corner of the night goes to the home side after good work from Chiellini and Palacios. The resulting corner is easily gathered by the Austin keeper.
Austin FC the only side to have beaten the Black and Gold in this 2022 MLS season. Third time lucky for the men from Texas?
The home side kick-off and away we go at a sold out Banc of California Stadium
All set, LAFC in all black and the visitors from Texas in their away 'mint green' kit. A massive tifo is unfurled by the home fans in the 3252 sector as we're just seconds away from the kick-off.
A reminder of the starting XI's for those just joining us.
- 1Brad Stuver
- 4Ruben Gabrielsen
- 24Nick Lima
- 17Jon Gallagher
- 18Julio Cascante
- 14Diego Fagundez
- 7Sebastian Driussi
- 77Emiliano Rigoni
- 6D. Pereira
- 2M. Djitte
- CoachJosh Wolffs
- 31Andrew Tarbell
- 16Héctor Jiménez
- 37Max Urruti
- 22Felipe Martins
- 5Jhojan Valencia
- 13Ethan Finlay
- 3Jhohan Romaña
- 33O. Wolff
- 16Maxime Crépeau
- 3Jesús Murillo
- 12Diego Palacios
- 24Ryan Hollingshead
- 20José Cifuentes
- 23Kellyn Acosta
- 9Cristian Arango
- 99Denis Bouanga
- CoachSteven Cherundolos
- 32Jhegson Méndez
- 77John McCarthy
- 28Antonio Leone
- 2Franco Escobar
- 25Sebastien Ibeagha
- 7Latif Blessing
- 22K. Opoku
It's been an incredible ride for Austin FC with the club only playing in their second season in MLS. The city has really taken to the team and the club have tapped into the local community in generating a strong soccer culture.
LAFC fans look to Vela
LAFC fans will look to Mexican striker Carlos Vela with the No. 10 a hero for the local fans. A dangerous free kick aside the Mexican delivered a discreet performance in the El Trafico semi-final against rivals LA Galaxy.
Banc of California stadium filling up
Kick-off tonight will be at 12:18 (pm) PT despite the game being advertised as starting at noon. The Banc of California Stadium is already a sea of black and gold as fans pack in with a small pocket of green clad Austin FC supporters tucked away in the guest sector.
LAFC look to Chiellini experience
Giorgio Chiellini makes a rare start for the Black and Gold today with coach Cherundolo looking to the Italian's big game experience as kick off looms closer.
Welsh striker Gareth Bale starts on the bench with his MLS playing time at a premium with the former Real Madrid man's major focus on the forthcoming 2022 World Cup which kicks off in Qatar next month.
Black and Gold coach Steve Cherundolo has named his team for the Western Conference final with Bouanga, Arango and Mexican striker Carlos Vela the front line as part of a 4-3-3 formation.
Austin FC XI confirmed
Josh Wolff has confirmed his starting eleven for the Western Conference final with Alex Ring captaining the side. All eyes will be on star striker Sebastian Driussi as the Argentine will look to secure a first ever MLS Cup berth for 'Los Verdes'.
MLS 2022 Cup final
The MLS Cup final will be decided in a single game staged on 5 November with both Conference winners going head to head. The game will be staged at the venue of the highest ranked side during the regular season with LAFC and Philadelphia holding the upper hand should they advance.
...and in the East
Later on Sunday, Philadelphia Union will face NYCFC with the side from the Big Apple looking to retain the MLS Cup after their victory against Portland Timbers in 2021.
Deciding the final
Today's game will be decided initially after 90 minutes. Should the teams be level after regulation time then two 15-minute periods of extra time if necessary will be used. If there is no winner after 120 minutes of action, then a penalty shoot out will be used to determine who advances to the 2022 MLS Cup final.
Austin FC not alone in LA today
A sizeable group of green clad Austin FC fans will take their place in the away sector at the Banc 9f California stadium today to support their side for their first ever MLS Conference final.
Chiellini: MLS playoffs feel like a "Champions League game"
Speaking to the media ahead of today's final, Chiellini told reporters that the Western Conference final felt like a Champions League final. "It’s just one leg, not two legs, but it’s almost the same. It has more importance than a domestic cup.
"Compared to a domestic cup, it’s a little different than our league because in our league, in Europe, there is a long season in which one game many times is not so important like here. It’s strange [this year] that in the West the first and second [seeds] and in the East the first and the third [made it to the Conference Finals].
Usually in the last years, not the best [teams] arrived to the end. But we hope we are a [No. 1 seed] to win this year, it could be a really good trophy for us."
LAFC-Austin: past five meetings
August 2022: MLS 2022: Austin 4-1 LAFC
May 2022: MLS 2022: LAFC 1-2 Austin
September 2021: MLS 2021: Austin 1-2 LAFC
July 2021: MLS 2021: Austin 0-2 LAFC
Sept. 2020: MLS 2021: LAFC 2-0 LAFC
Austin in green today
The Texan side will sport green uniforms this afternoon with LAFC also wearing black as predominant colour.
Austin's 'Day of the Dead' match poster (by Billie Buck) is pretty solid too !
McConaughey is up for the cup
Austin FC minority shareholder Matthew McConaughey is an ardent fan of the 'green and black' side from Texas and was up bright and early on Sunday morning with his rallying tweet of support for his team.
Armando Villarreal has been selected to oversee the 2022 MLS Western Conference final at the Banc of California Stadium with the San Antonio resident a FIFA official since 2015.
The 31-year-old has overseen CONCACAF Gold Cup and Champions League matches.
Austin FC: team news
Austin’s Freddy Kleeman and Zan Kolmanic are both listed as unavailable due to knee injuries, but the visitors have no suspended players.
Despite scoring against Dallas, striker Djitté could make way for Maximiliano Urruti, who has been a much more regular starter this season. The Argentine led the line for Austin in both of their regular-season victories over LAFC, starring in August’s big win with a two-goal display. Meanwhile, midfielder Daniel Pereira came into the side in place of Jhojan Valencia last weekend, and could keep his place after an effective performance in the engine room alongside Alexander Ring.
Possible Austin FC lineup:
Stuver, Lima, Cascante, Gabrielsen, Gallagher, Ring, Pereira, Finlay, Driussi, Fagúndez, Urruti.
LAFC: team news
LAFC have reported no injuries and have no-one missing through suspension. Gareth Bale missed the win over the Galaxy with a left leg injury, but appears unlikely to return to the lineup against Austin. Signed as a free agent in June, the former Real Madrid forward last started for LAFC a month and a half ago, and has played just five minutes of club football since the international break in late September.
Head coach Steve Cherundolo may well name an unchanged team on Sunday, although veteran centre-back Giorgio Chiellini could come back into the defence.
Possible LAFC lineup:
Crépeau, Hollingshead, Murillo, Segura, Palacios, Cifuentes, Sánchez, Acosta, Vela, Arango, Bouanga.
LAFC-Austin: road to the Western Conference final
Both teams were handed derby games at the semi-final stage with LAFC recording a 3-2 home win over Los Angeles Galaxy in a wild ‘El Trafico’ derby and Austin FC overcame Texan rivals FC Dallas with a 2-1 win.
Having impressed this season winning the MLS Supporters Shield and with home field advantage, LAFC start out as slight favourites in the Western Conference semi-final. ‘Los Verdes’ will look to mercurial Sebastian Driussi with the Argentine on target in the game against Dallas and the former River Plate man current second top highest marksman in MLS this season with 22 strikes.
Cristian Arango is the leading striker for LAFC and it was his 93rd minute strike against the Galaxy that secured a place in the final with the Colombian now on a total of 20 goals for the season.
Four sides remain in contention to lift the 2022 MLS Cup and this weekend sees the staging of the conference finals as Philadelphia Union face reigning holders NYCFC in the East with Los Angeles Football club taking on Austin FC at the Banc of California on Sunday evening in the Western Conference final.
Both the team from California and the newcomers to MLS in 2021, Austin have never progressed to an MLS Cup final in their brief time in existence and will look to take that crucial one step closer as the LA ‘black and gold’ clash against the Texas ‘black and green’ today.
Blue skies in LA ahead of final
The Banc of California Stadium is ready to open its doors on a mild October afternoon with a current temperature of 19F-67F in the City of Angels with dry conditions expected throughout the day.
The action at the Banc of California Stadium gets underway at 12:00 pm (local time) or 3:00 pm (ET) and 20:00 CEST.
Despite the game scheduled for a noon kick-off, the action is expected to start at 12:18 pm (local time.)
Hello and welcome to our live coverage of the 2022 MLS Western Conference final as LAFC face Austin FC.