LAFC vs Minnesota United FC – October 4, 2023
Hat trick alert — Denis Bouanga led the Black and Gold to a 5-1 victory in the LAFC vs Minnesota United FC match on Wednesday, clinching his club a spot in the 2023 MLS Cup Playoffs. What a way to end the final regular season game of the year at home at BMO Stadium.
Minnesota United FC were able to draw first blood early on in the 4th minute of the match off a ricochet block by Maxime Crepeau which flew straight up and down into the place of MNUFC’s Hassani Dotson who scored an easy header for the 1-0 lead.
That was all she wrote for Minnesota, as the Black and Gold shut out The Loons for the remainder of the game. Just two minutes after Dotson’s goal, Bouanga equalized the match in the 6th minute when he followed up a shot from the penalty spot. Thirty minutes later, Bouanga secured a brace with a shot from almost the exact same position following a beautiful cross from teammate Diego Palacios.
The first half wasn’t over just yet as Bouanga scored his hat trick in stoppage time to bring the lead up to 3-1. The French winger took a wicked right footed 12 yard shot from the inside corner of the penalty box, recording the first ever first half hat trick in LAFC franchise history for the regular season.
LAFC sparked the start of the second half with a short back-footed goal by midfielder Cristian Olivera. Then Minnesota United FC shot themselves in the foot allowing LAFC’s Filip Krastev to score his first career goal in the MLS.
With his hat trick, Bouanga currently has a league-best 17 goals in 29 MLS games. The Gabon international leads FC Cincinnati’s Luciano Acosta by one goal. With two games left in the regular season, there’s no doubt he’s our favorite to win this year’s Golden Boot. We’ll see if Bouanga can higher his count when LAFC faces Austin FC this Saturday.