Match Preview: Chicago Fire vs. LA Galaxy
The Chicago Fire return home from a two-game tour of the Pacific Northwest to take on an LA Galaxy side concluding a three-game Eastern swing when the clubs meet Sunday afternoon at Toyota Park. The Fire dropped both games in Cascadia, last a 4-2 loss to the Portland Timbers on Thursday. The Galaxy have played to a pair of draws on their week-long trip, coming off a scoreless draw at Toronto FC.
REFEREE: Niko Bratsis. SAR (bench): Colin Arblaster; JAR (opposite): Mike Kampmeinert; 4th: Edvin Jurisevic MLS Career: First game.
INJURY REPORT: CHICAGO FIRE – OUT: MF Mike Banner (L Achilles tendinitis); DF Steven Kinney (R Achilles repair); QUESTIONABLE: MF Marko Maric (L ankle sprain) ... LA GALAXY – OUT: DF Gregg Berhalter (L knee MCL sprain); FW Adam Cristman (L knee surgery); QUESTIONABLE: MF Landon Donovan (R knee inflammation); MF Hector Jimenez (R wrist surgery)
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none
SUSPENDED: LA: David Beckham (yellow card accumulation; through April 17); Juninho (through April 17); Jovan Kirovski (through April 17)
WARNINGS: SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: none SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: none
ALL-TIME (34 meetings): Fire 15 wins (1 shootout), 42 goals ... Galaxy 15 wins (0 shootout), 40 goals ... Ties 4 AT CHICAGO (21 meetings): Fire 9 wins (0 shootout), 23 goals ... Galaxy 7 wins (0 shootout), 19 goals ... Ties 1
RETURN MATCH: 7/9: LA Galaxy vs. Chicago Fire, 10:30 p.m. ET (FOX Soccer)
LAST YEAR (MLS): 8/1 LA 2, CHI 3 (Donovan 37, 81 – Pappa 4; John 5; Banner 19) 9/4: CHI 1, LA 1 (John 88 – Gonzalez 90)
- The Fire have come away with victories on two of their last three visits to The Home Depot Center to take on the Galaxy, winning 3-2 in a wild affair last year, and also winning 1-0 in 2008.
- The Fire last defeated the Galaxy on their Toyota Park home ground in 2008, a 3-1 win on Sept. 25. The Galaxy won in 2009 on their lone trip to Bridgeview; the teams played to a draw there last year.
- Coaches record: Carlos de los Cobos vs. LA: P2 W1 L0 D1 ... Bruce Arena v CHI: P13 W7 L4 D2
The Chicago Fire lost for the second time on their two-game Cascadia road swing, falling 4-2 to the Portland Timbers on Thursday night in the first MLS game at Jeld-Wen Field. The Fire have 4 points from 4 matches on the year, in a three-way tie for seventh place in the Eastern Conference.
- Colombian striker Jorge Perlaza scored the first goal at Jeld-Wen Field in the 29th minute. He ran onto a pass from Kalif Alhassan, cut back against a defender and onrushing Fire goalkeeper Sean Johnson, and fired into an empty net.
- The Timbers doubled their lead nine minutes later. A Jack Jewsbury free kick from the right flank was weakly cleared and Rodney Wallace raced forward and pounded the loose ball into the net from 20 yards.
- After the break, the Timbers made it 3-0 when Wallace's cross bounced away from Johnson and Perlaza pounced on on the loose ball and tapped it into the net.
- The Fire pulled a goal back in the 66th minute. Marco Pappa tried to cut through the Timbers back line and Eric Brunner slid in to tackle it away, but succeeded only in driving the ball into his own goal.
- The visitors then close the lead to one in the 81st minute, when Pappa took a pass in the right side of the area, turned, and curled a terrific shot over goalkeeper Jake Gleeson and off the underside of the bar in the left corner.
- But the Timbers sealed their historic win three minutes later, when a scrum off a corner kick saw Dasan Robinson bounce the ball into his own goal with Futty Danso also trying to prod it home.
- Fire head coach Carlos de los Cobos made no changes to the team that fell 2-1 to Seattle Sounders at Qwest Field.
- CHICAGO FIRE (4-4-2): Sean Johnson – Jalil Anibaba, Dasan Robinson, Cory Gibbs, Gonzalo Segares – Patrick Nyarko, Logan Pause, Michael Videira (Marko Maric 46 / Orr Barouch 64), Marco Pappa – Gaston Puerari (Dominic Oduro 57+), Diego Chaves.
- Against Seattle, the Fire conceded two goals in an 18-minute span over the opening quarter of the match; against Sporting Kansas City, the two goals allowed came in a 21-minute span early in the second half. The Timbers scored three goals in 18 minutes on either side of halftime.
- “I was satisfied with the team when we were losing 3-0. We reacted very good, we were close when we scored the second goal,” Fire head coach Carlos de los Cobos. “It’s a shame because our players made a great effort. We played much better in the second half and we need to learn off of this.”
- The Fire completed their two-game road trip to the Pacific Northwest with their first two losses of the season.
- “Our goal was to come out here [to Portland and Seattle] and get six points,” Pause said. “If not six at least come away with something. We felt like we did enough in Seattle to at least come away with something and tonight really just wasn’t our night. We’re going to hopefully learn from this, make the adjustments needed and move forward.”
- The Fire were without center back Josip Mikulic for a second consecutive match. They allowed six goals in the two matches, after conceding three in the first two.
- “I just think at the end of the day we definitely were a little out of sorts,” captain Logan Pause said. “I don’t know if that comes from us trying to push the game a little bit and we kind of opened ourselves up, but we’ll need to go back and look at some of the things defensively. Anytime you give up four goals, you’re not giving yourselves much of a chance.”
- Marco Pappa scored his second goal of the season, and was involved in the Fire opener, as Eric Brunner cleared the ball off his foot, leading to the own goal.
- Diego Cháves had his three-game goalscoring streak come to an end, after becoming the first player in club history to score goals in his first three appearances.
- “We knew the first 15 minutes was going to be key, we were making a big push to get the first goal on our end but a couple minutes into the second half we gave up a third, which makes it a daunting hill to climb,” Pause said. “We made a chase, we pushed it, we just really need to start learning from some of the mistakes we’re making.”
- Marko Maric made his debut for the club, coming on at halftime for Michael Videira, But he lasted less than 20 minutes before being forced off with a sprained left ankle. He will be evaluated upon the team’s return to Chicago.
The LA Galaxy played to a draw for the second time on their three-game Eastern swing, this time reaching a scoreless result with Toronto FC on Wednesday evening at BMO Field. The Galaxy have 9 points from 6 games on the season, sitting in second place in the Western Conference.
- The Galaxy three times hit the woodwork on the night, including midway through the second half when David Beckham curled a freekick around the wall and beat TFC goalkeeper Stefan Frei, only to see it come crashing back off the left upright.
- Galaxy goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts made three saves, including a game-saving stop late from close range on a Joao Plata header.
- It was the third consecutive draw over the past two seasons between Toronto FC and the LA Galaxy.
- Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena made one change to the team that played to a 1-1 draw with D.C. United at RFK Stadium. Chad Barrett returned to the lineup in place of Miguel Lopez. LA GALAXY (4-4-2): Donovan Ricketts – A.J. DeLaGarza, Omar Gonzalez, Leonardo, Todd Dunivant – Sean Franklin (Paolo Cardozo 88), Juninho (sent off 94+), David Beckham, Mike Magee (Bryan Jordan 75) – Chad Barrett, Juan Pablo Angel (Miguel Lopez 84).
- Arena will have some serious lineup concerns—especially in attack – for the match at Toyota Park. Both central midfielder – Beckham and Juninho – will be out through suspension, and Landon Donovan remains questionable with a knee injury that kept him out of the first two games on the Eastern trip.
- “We have got a long way to go,” Arena said. “Certainly, when you walk off the field and you don’t have three points, you know you have a lot of work ahead of you and we do.”
- While the Galaxy were shut out for the first time this season, they are now averaging less than a goal per game. They have not scored a goal from open play since the 1-1 draw with New England on March 20.
- “We hit the post, we hit the crossbar a couple of times and we had the majority of the play and the majority of the chances,” Beckham said. “But it’s disappointing. Obviously we want to win these games.”
- Beckham received his fifth yellow card in six games this season, giving him the suspension for yellow card accumulation. He received six yellow cards – his career-high – in 2008.
- Chad Barrett started against his former club, coming in alongside Juan Pablo Angel in place of Miguel Lopez, who had started the last two matches.
- “Chad did well, he worked hard,” Arena said. “He maybe had a chance to get a goal but I thought he had his best game of the year for us.”
- Since returning to the lineup, Donovan Ricketts has recorded two shutouts in three starts. The lone goal he has allowed was the 90th-minute penalty to D.C. United’s Charlie Davies on April 9.