Chicago Fire vs. LA Galaxy | MLS Match Preview

CHICAGO FIRE vs LA GALAXY
TOYOTA PARK, Bridgeview, Ill.
June 1, 2014 (WEEK 13, MLS Game #122)
3 p.m. CT (My50 Chi; TWCSN-LA)

A high-profile match is ahead on Sunday afternoon as the Chicago Fire play host to the LA Galaxy on Sunday afternoon at Toyota Park. The Fire return home after their two-game winning run was put to an end last weekend, in a 2-0 defeat by the Columbus Crew. The Galaxy hit the road following back-to-back home wins, with Landon Donovan becoming the league’s all-time goal-scoring king in their last match, a 4-1 victory against Philadelphia Union last Sunday.

REFEREE: Hilario Grajeda. AR1 (bench): Paul Scott; AR2 (opposite): Claudio Badea; 4th: Edvin Jurisevic
MLS Career: 105 games; FC/gm: 24.3; Y/gm: 3.5; R: 18; pens: 16

SUSPENDED: none
WARNINGS:
SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: CHI: Mike Magee
SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: CHI: Quincy Amarikwa
DISABLED LIST: none
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: LA: Omar Gonzalez (USA)

HEAD-TO-HEAD
ALL-TIME (38 meetings): Fire 15 wins (1 shootout), 44 goals … Galaxy 19 wins (0 shootout), 50 goals … Ties 4
AT CHICAGO (19 meetings): Fire 9 wins (1 shootout), 24 goals … Galaxy 9 wins (0 shootout), 23 goals … Ties 1

LAST YEAR (MLS):
3/3: LA 4, CHI 0 (Magee 38, 68, 74; Keane 80)

  • The teams are meeting in league play for the only time this season.
  • The Galaxy have a four-game winning streak in the series, including a 4-0 victory last March 3 at StubHub Center in the only meeting between the teams. The Fire have not defeated the Galaxy since a 3-2 win in Carson on Aug. 1, 2010.
  • The Galaxy have come away with points on each of their last four visits to Toyota Park (three victories and a draw). Chicago’s last home win in the series came in 2008.
  • Coaches record: Frank Yallop vs. LA: P23 W9 L8 D6 … Bruce Arena vs. CHI: P17 W11 L4 D2

CHICAGO FIRE
The Chicago Fire saw their winning run come to an end after two games, falling 2-0 to the Columbus Crew on Saturday evening at Crew Stadium. The Fire are in eighth place in the Eastern Conference with 12 points from 11 games.

LAST MATCH

  • The Crew took the lead in the 10th minute. Ethan Finlay received a through ball from Federico Higuain, blew past a Fire defender, touched the ball around goalkeeper Sean Johnson to the right, and hit an off-balance shot at a tight angle just past the goalpost.
  • The Crew stretched the lead in the 25th minute, when Jairo Arrieta was provided another perfect pass from Higuain. He raced past a defender to go in one-on-one on goal, and squared to the goal before powering a shot between the 'keeper's legs.
  • Fire head coach Frank Yallop made three changes to the team that defeated Sporting Kansas City 2-1 at Toyota Park. Steven Kinney came into the back four for Lovel Palmer, Dilly Duka started in midfield in place of Patrick Nyarko, and Juan Luis Anangono entered the team in favor of Mike Magee.
  • CHICAGO FIRE (4-4-2): Sean Johnson - Steven Kinney, Patrick Ianni, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Greg Cochrane - Dilly Duka (Grant Ward 61), Jeff Larentowicz, Benji Joya (Logan Pause 46), Harry Shipp - Quincy Amarikwa, Juan Luis Anangono.

TEAM NEWS

  • The Fire lost for the first time since May 2 and were shut out at the attacking end for the first time this season, the last team in MLS this season not to score a goal in a match. The Fire still have yet to keep a clean sheet this season, now one of three teams (along with Chivas USA and Portland) not to record a defensive shutout this year.
  • “We looked like we were going to score most games. We went through the game and had some good chances. Quincy [Amarikwa] has gotten some good spots. I just talked to him he’s a little calmer, a little bit picking guys out,” said Fire head coach Frank Yallop. “I’ve only seen him once but we had chances to score but you can’t keep conceding goals and win matches. At some point you need to shut it down and make it difficult. It’s the whole team; it’s not just one or two guys. The whole team has to do it.”
  • Mike Magee did not start a match for the first time in nine games, since March 16, out with a calf injury. Patrick Nyarko was also out after a knee injury forced him out of the Sporting KC match before the hour mark.
  • “We’ve got a tough week coming up so we want all our bodies available if possible,” Yallop said. “Mike’s still out, Patrick’s still struggling a little bit, [Bakary Soumare’s] back, Alex has just started running again so hopefully he can get himself at least in contention for maybe not Sunday, but moving forward in the next three games.”
  • Benji Joya started in midfield but played only the first half before he was replaced by Logan Pause, who was making a third consecutive substitute appearance.
  • "I think you can’t really come up with any excuses. You can’t really look to blame a different lineup or different person,” said goalkeeper Sean Johnson. “We are all on the same team. We all train together on the pitch and prepare ourselves for match day. I think it’s down to what we do when we step on the field. We are more than capable of meshing together for 90 minutes and getting a result.”
  • Steven Kinney made his first league start of the season, coming in at right back with Lovel Palmer out due to illness.
  • Grant Ward made his MLS and Fire debut, coming for the final 29 minutes in a wide midfield role.
  • “Steven Kinney came in and he hasn’t played all season. Grant Ward made his debut and he hasn’t played for four months,” said Yallop. “Tough night around we kept going to the end but, we were pretty naive generally all over the pitch, especially defensively. We have to make better decisions where we don’t give chances to the opposition.”

LA GALAXY
The LA Galaxy won their second game on the trot in an historic night, rolling to a 4-1 win against Philadelphia Union on Sunday evening at StubHub Center. The Galaxy sit in sixth place in the Western Conference with 15 points from 10 games.

LAST MATCH

  • It took the Galaxy just two minutes to open the scoring. Back with the Galaxy, Landon Donovan delivered a free kick from the right flank that Leonardo nodded past Union goalkeeper Zac MacMath after finding space in the six-yard box.
  • Then MLS history came four minutes into the second half. Donovan fed Robbie Keane on the right channel, then sprinted toward the left post for the return pass. The finish was easy, and with it Donovan became the all-time MLS goal-scoring leader with his 135th career regular-season goal.
  • Keane made it 3-0 for the Galaxy in the 64th minute, taking advantage after a giveaway in the Union end to race in and drive the ball through the goalkeeper's legs. It was 4-0 as Donovan added to his record count in the 81st minute, finishing off another one-two with Keane after yet another giveaway to slot home in the area.
  • Union pulled a goal back in the 88th minute when Maurice Edu converted a penalty kick after Galaxy rookie Raul Mendiola fouled Union's Zach Pfeffer.
  • Galaxy coach Bruce Arena made three changes to the team that claimed a 2-1 win against FC Dallas at StubHub Center. Leonardo came into the back four for Kofi Opare, Baggio Husidic came into the midfield in place of Stefan Ishizaki, and Landon Donovan came back from national team duty to replace Samuel.
  • LA GALAXY (4-4-2): Jaime Penedo - Dan Gargan, Tommy Meyer, Leonardo, A.J. DeLaGarza - Gyasi Zardes, Kenney Walker (Stefan Ishizaki 64), Juninho (Raul Mendiola 73), Baggio Husidic - Landon Donovan (Samuel 83), Robbie Keane.

TEAM NEWS

  • The Galaxy have put an end to a four-game winless run with back-to-back wins, their second time this season with consecutive victories.
  • Days after his release from the US national team World Cup camp, Landon Donovan became the all-time leading goal-scorer in MLS history with 135th and 136th league goals. It was also his MLS record 31st career multiple-goal game.
  • “It’s been a long week. It’s hard. I think you guys know me better well. It’s hard not to make it about me. I don’t necessarily want it to be that way, but you know, I’ve sacrificed a lot to get to the position I’m in,” Donovan said. “I’m very happy for myself. I’ve dedicated a lot to this. I think I deserved what happened.”
  • Said Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena: “It’s an unbelievable milestone for any athlete. It’s a great accomplishment. We are grateful to have him here. I know it takes a little pressure off him not having to worry about that record now. Others can chase him for the rest of his life.”
  • Donovan also added an assist, and now has 120 assists for his MLS career, second-most in league history (behind Steve Ralston’s 135).
  • “To be honest when I scored, I wasn’t thinking of the record. It only occurred to me 10 seconds into the celebrating. It’s great. I mean, it really is,” said Donovan. “I think more importantly, I enjoy the rest of the season, keep helping our team. I want to get make to enjoying football. This has been a week where I had moments I fell out of love for it a little bit. I want to make sure I keep enjoying it.”
  • Robbie Keane scored a goal and added two assists. Over his last 33 games, since the start of the 2013 season (one shy of a full MLS campaign), Keane has scored 23 goals and added 14 assists.
  • “That’s how we like to play. The way we played [vs. Philadelphia] was old Galaxy,” Keane said. “I said to you few weeks ago that if you let me finish, I would finish it. I said few weeks ago that there is a big performance coming from this team and tonight was one of those.”
  • Leonardo returned to central defense after missing the last two matches, and scored his first goal of the season ñ his first in MLS since April 2, 2011, when he also scored vs. Philadelphia.
  • “The goal was a big part of our success. He had surgery two weeks ago. I don’t know if anyone knew. He had a compound fracture,” Arena said. “We really brought him along slowly over the last two weeks. He was in a good frame of mind to play. He’s thrilled with his performance. Leo’s grown a lot as a player. It’s great to see him perform today, coming back from that injury. I think it’s going to give him a lot of confidence.”
  • Said Keane: “I think I mentioned last week that it’s important for everybody to pitch in goals. Tonight was the case, so for him personally it was great. Most of the center-halves should be scoring two or three goals in the season, and that was his first one, so he has got three more to go.”