The Los Angeles Galaxy will look to snap a six-game winless streak and build some momentum for the run to the postseason when they visit last-place Austin FC on Sunday night.
The Galaxy (11-9-5, 38 points) began the weekend in fourth place in the Western Conference despite their recent swoon that saw them lose three and tie three matches since their last win, on Aug. 14 at Minnesota.
Los Angeles heads to Austin for the first time ever after a 3-0 loss Sept. 18 at Minnesota in its most recent game. Sunday's match is the first of back-to-back contests on the road in a span of just four days.
The Galaxy raced to a stunning start to the season with wins in seven of their first 10 games. Now it's just a matter of regaining that mojo and finishing strong.
"Austin, they're a dangerous opponent in many ways -- they really don't have anything to lose," Galaxy coach Greg Vanney said. "We have a group that is trying to find the momentum that we need down the stretch to try and get ourselves in the playoff picture and to have the best chance down the stretch."
The Galaxy prevailed 2-0 at home on May 15 in the only previous meeting between the two clubs.
Austin (5-16-4, 19 points) has experienced plenty of lows in its inaugural season but its most recent setback, a 4-3 loss at home to San Jose on Sept. 18, might have been the toughest to swallow. Austin was up 3-1 at halftime after goals by Sebastian Driussi, Jon Gallagher and Alex Ring but conceded three after the break, including one on a controversial penalty.
To make matters worse, Ring was sent off in the 65th minute, forcing Austin to try to mount a comeback with just 10 men. Ring will miss Sunday's match with his one-game red-card suspension.
Austin has dropped five straight matches, eight of its past nine and is mired at the bottom of the West standings, seven points behind 12th-place Houston, with just nine games to play.
"We've got nine games left and that's kind of what I've presented to these guys," Austin coach Josh Wolff said. "Let's make this nine-game season as (best) as we can and create some goals in there and really focus on those things individually and collectively to give us the best chance to win games and obviously build momentum as this season goes on."
--Field Level Media