Austin FC ascended to the top of the Western Conference in an instant classic, beating LAFC 2-1 at Banc of California Stadium on Wednesday night.

Ruben Gabrielsen was the unlikely scorer of the opening goal, taking a recycled Diego Fagundez corner kick and juking an LAFC defender en route to a striker's finish in the 13th minute. Fagundez had an on-a-platter chance to double the lead in the 23rd minute, but hit the crossbar for arguably the other best scoring chance of the half for either side.

Austin made late subs to go into a back five – unusual for them — after LAFC looked more threatening in the second half largely thanks to Cristian Arango's inclusion. Fagundez finally got his goal in the 80th minute, thanks to a divine assist from Sebastian Driussi, but Carlos Vela earned a PK six minutes later and caromed it off the post to pull back a goal.

As they mounted some furious late pressure in search of an equalizer, LAFC thought they had a penalty shout in second-half stoppage time when Austin FC defender Kipp Keller went into a challenge against Diego Palacios in his own area. The play went to Video Review, but the no-call on the field was upheld, allowing Austin to escape the Banc with all three points.

Goals

  • 13' – ATX – Ruben Gabrielsen | WATCH
  • 80' – ATX – Diego Fagundez | WATCH
  • 86' – LAFC – Carlos Vela (PK) | WATCH

Three Things

  • THE BIG PICTURE: Austin are now atop the West and leading the Supporters' Shield race with 23 points (7W-3L-2D), coupling their win with Vancouver's comeback over FC Dallas in a landmark MLS After Dark night. The second-year club also got themselves a significant milestone: It was Verde's first-ever win in the Pacific time zone. LAFC, on the other hand, did well to stay in it when it looked like Fagundez had scored a failsafe insurance goal, but they couldn't conjure an equalizer and gave up just their first home loss of 2022.
  • MOMENT OF THE MATCH: Fagundez's goal turned out to be the match-winner, and it was set up by one of the assists of the season so far from Driussi.
  • MAN OF THE MATCH: Brad Stuver did concede a penalty and got scored on eventually, but had six saves and kept a dangerous LAFC side at bay on their home field – 18 days after cutting his knee on a freak play that caused him to exit early from a match in Houston.

Next Up

  • LAFC: Saturday, May 21 at Columbus Crew | 3:30 pm ET (UniMás, TUDN, Twitter)
  • ATX: Sunday, May 22 vs. Orlando City SC | 8 pm ET (MLS LIVE on ESPN+)