Austin FC moved to the top of the Western Conference in MLS on Wednesday, securing a gritty 2-1 win over Los Angeles FC.
Goals from Ruben Gabrielsen and Diego Fagundez gave Austin the vital three points, with Carlos Vela’s response from the penalty spot in the 86th minute providing mere consolation for LAFC.
Gabrielsen put the home side in front in the 13th minute after Fagundez zipped a dangerous corner in, coolly finishing when the ball fell his way.
Josh Wolff’s side looked to absorb pressure from LAFC, and Fagundez was able to double their advantage in the 80th minute after he was played through by Sebastian Driussi.
Vela’s goal, which made him the third-fastest player to 100 MLS goal involvements (98 games), was not enough for a largely passive LAFC, who could not translate possession into chances of substance. They accumulated a non-penalty expected goals total of 1.12 from the 17 shots aside from Vela’s spot-kick.
Austin lead LAFC on goal difference atop the West on 23 points, with FC Dallas remaining on 22 points after the Vancouver Whitecaps came from behind to defeat them 2-1 late on.
The LA Galaxy missed their chance to make up ground, only managing a 1-1 draw with Minnesota United despite Sacha Kljestan putting them ahead in the 83rd minute.
Elsewhere in the West, the Seattle Sounders continued their recovery from a slow start to the season, defeating the Houston Dynamo 1-0, while Sporting Kansas City beat the Colorado Rapids 2-1 in a game that saw four red cards in stoppage time.
A Jamiro Monteiro brace helped the San Jose Earthquakes defeat the Portland Timbers 3-2, as Nashville’s strong start at GEODIS Park continued with a 2-1 victory over CF Montreal.
New York City gained ground on the Philadelphia Union with a 2-0 win over DC United, scoring twice in the first half to move within a point of the Eastern Conference leaders, who were held to a goalless draw by Inter Miami.
In Wednesday’s early result, Xherdan Shaqiri scored what he thought was a late winner for the Chicago Fire, only for the New York Red Bulls’ Patryk Klimala to score in the first minute of stoppage time to secure a 3-3 draw.