Friday night’s tense, top-of-the-table clash between Austin FC and LAFC threatened to boil over in the 38th minute as a clash between Maxi Urruti and Jesus David Murillo sparked a melee between the two sides at Q2 Stadium.

Austin FC and LAFC get into first-half scruffle

Murillo threw a hefty shoulder charge into Urruti as the two players raced after a ball along the touchline, sending ATX’s veteran striker flying into the sideline hoardings. Urruti responded heatedly, chasing after the big Colombian center back and appearing to make contact with his foot as he confronted him.

Murillo reacted by crashing to the turf theatrically and a wider melee erupted, with LAFC goalkeeper Maxime Crepeau arriving on the scene to bump Urruti and scrap briefly with Diego Fagundez, who’d given the hosts a 1-0 lead with a gorgeous free-kick strike several minutes before.

Even with Giorgio Chiellini, a substitute on this evening, attempting to mediate the conflict, it was a messy situation for referee Alex Chilowicz and his crew to untangle.

Urruti, Fagundez and Crepeau were issued yellow cards and a brief Video Review check unfolded without further discipline, but the game’s stakes and the simmering enmity between the two sides was clear.