LA Galaxy head coach Greg Vanney warned his players against complacency when facing low-ranked opponent Austin FC on Sunday as he believes "they really don't have anything to lose."
The Los Angeles team currently sits in fourth place in the Western Conference table with 38 points in 25 matches. While they hold a 2021 MLS playoff spot, Vanney’s side will be looking to snap their six-game winless streak.
Austin FC, on the other hand, stand in last with a mere 19 points. The newest Major League Soccer expansion team has managed to win only five games during their debut season, something Vanney thinks they can use in their favor.
"Austin, they're a dangerous opponent in many ways – they really don't have anything to lose. They can throw whatever they want at us in any way they want to and take whatever risks they want to try to get a result or try to push the game. They're at home, they're in front of their fans in their new stadium, which I know they want to try and get some momentum and some belief in their own stadium – that's a place that's really difficult to play.
"So there's a lot of things where they don't have really anything that's holding them back other than the fact that they haven't had great results and maybe their confidence is shaken. But at the end of the day they have nothing to lose and they can go for it and 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."
LA Galaxy midfielder Sebastian Lletget hopes to gain momentum from Sunday’s match, asserting that the team is only one victory away from turning around the season. The USMNT player has been an integral part of LA Galaxy’s success this season, recording one goal and four assists for the team so far.
"I think we're just one game away, where we've just got to turn it around," Lletget said. "It can come down to one play, one play will change everything. This league is all about momentum and I think if we get this one then the next will follow.
"Am I worried about this team? No, I'm not worried, I'm definitely not losing sleep," Lletget said. "Are we being proactive and are we addressing issues proactively? Definitely. We're not being passive with the things that haven't been going well. Every team has their own stuff. But nine games left and I believe we can definitely turn it around, one game at a time."
The 2021 MLS season is winding down with only nine games remaining before the playoffs. This is the last attempt from teams to secure their spot in the offseason as the top seven clubs from each conference can qualify and play for the MLS Cup.