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Hector Jimenez is expected to be back on the pitch as Austin FC takes on LAFC. (Austin FC/Twitter)

Remember that first match? The ultimate rematch is on at Q2 Stadium as Austin FC takes on LAFC for the second time at 8:30 p.m. on Wednesday.


Back before the club's first goal, before the injuries and before their triumphant 4-1 breakout win at Q2 Stadium, Austin FC lost 2-0 to LAFC at Los Angeles Banc Stadium for their first-ever match.

When they first faced the Los Angeles club, Austin was nearly injury-free. They were also goalless and lacked a solid starting lineup as they faced off against a club that was projected to be at the top of the Western Conference. Now, LAFC sits at No. 5 in the West and has just one win on the road, while Austin's long scoreless streak was recently snapped by Jon Gallagher and crew at Q2 Stadium.

Austin will be looking to keep their momentum rolling as they take on LAFC at home. Here's how that could go down:

What to expect

While Austin has Gallagher, Diego Fagundez and Cecilio Dominguez to thank for their goals, LAFC relies on another trio. Corey Baird, Jose Cifuentes, and Diego Rossi have tallied three goals each at the top of LAFC's attacking lineup and make up nine of the club's 13 goals this season.

2019 MVP winner Carlos Vela, the club's star player, was "accidentally" subbed out 20 minutes into their season opener against Austin and didn't return until late May on injury. The man who scored 52 goals in his first 66 MLS regular-season games has just one goal to his name this season so far, but he's quickly whipping back into shape. Vela's lone goal came against FC Dallas on June 24.

Even as the club sits lower in the standings than usual, Austin FC Head Coach Josh Wolff said they're still a potential threat. "They haven't put up the numbers that they typically put up, but they're still very dangerous," Wolff said.

While they've won half of their home games, LAFC is less lucky on the road and has a 1-3-1 away record.

Meanwhile, Austin is riding a high after their 4-1 win against Portland that saw not one, but four players make those first goals at Q2 Stadium. The club is on the mend as well, but six players remain out of play indefinitely, including Gallagher.

Despite only scoring in one of their first three home matches, Austin FC has dominated every club that has played at Q2 Stadium. Wolff said he hopes to see more confidence around the goal after a successful home stretch.

"We played really well in our three home games: good energy, good intensity, really good mentality how we come out and try to drive and dictate the game," Wolff said. "And last game we were rewarded with some goals... (so) hopefully it helps give our group confidence."

Projected starting lineup

Austin has not had the luxury of a solid starting lineup this season, and they'll likely see a new set of faces this match as well. Gallagher's foot injury means another man is needed up top. Jared Stroud is likely in alongside Dominguez and Fagundez as he tries to crack his first goal.

Hector Jimenez, who got a goal of his own in last match, is still in for an injured Nick Lima on right back, and Daniel Pereira is likely back in the starting XI after a stellar performance against Portland.

Wolff said having Pereira flanked behind Fagundez has helped elevate the club's quality of play even as the club continues to sort out injuries.

"Having Diego and having Danny Pereira back obviously helps, it gets two really quality players out on the field... and now you really start to see the game come to life," Wolff said. "They have personality and character, and we continue to learn about these guys as well."

Where to watch

If you've got the golden ticket, good for you! Click here for a guide to matchday fun.

For everyone else, some tickets are still up on SeatGeek, but there are also plenty of watch parties for those looking for the gameday hype as well.

Here are a few options around town:

Pregame fun at The Rustic Tap, 613 W. 6th St.

For some before-match fun, catch the guys at The Horn give a pregame analysis at The Rustic Tap with $5 pints of Michelob Ultra from 3-7 p.m.

The Lustre Pearl South, 97 Rainey St.

Karbach Brewing and Do512 have teamed up to provide a watch party at The Lustre Pearl South with drink specials, giveaways and more. The party starts at 6:30 p.m., two hours before kickoff.

Beer hall watch party, Easy Tiger 1501 E. 7th St.

Grab a (possibly) free pretzel and enjoy Easy Tiger East's new indoor beer hall as you watch the guys play starting at 7:30 p.m.

Austin Anthem at Circle Brewing, 2340 W. Braker Lane

For every home match, Austin FC supporters' group Austin Anthem celebrates before, during and after the match at Circle Brewing, a brewery just steps away from Q2 Stadium.

Los Verdes at Hopsquad Brewing, 2307 Kramer Lane

Just feet away from Circle Brewing, Hopsquad Brewing serves as the official HQ for Austin FC supporters' group Los Verdes and will be packed with the same all-day music, beer and fun as those next door.

Austin FC Pub Clubs

For those looking to watch the match in the comfort of your neighborhood bar, check out these 30+ Pub Partners that play every match, home or away.

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