ExLink - 04/14/18 - CHIvLA

Chicago Fire vs. LA Galaxy
2018 MLS Regular Season – Week 7
Toyota Park - Bridgeview
3:30 pm ET – April 14, 2018
WATCH: Univision, Twitter

There should be an electric atmosphere at Toyota Park Saturday afternoon as former Manchester United teammates - albeit for only a few months - reunite when Zlatan Ibrahimovic and the LA Galaxy takes on Bastian Schweinsteiger and the Chicago Fire in front of a sell-out crowd.

The Galaxy are looking to rebound from a 2-0 loss to surging Sporting Kansas City, while the Fire are unbeaten in their last two games and are coming in off their first win, a 1-0 victory over Columbus Crew SC last Saturday.

Chicago Fire  

It was a good effort, and a needed three points. But for Chicago coach Veljko Paunovic, that’s where the good thoughts end for the Chicago Fire (1-2-1) from a 1-0 win over Crew SC Saturday.

“We had to grind out the whole game, this is definitely not the game to remember,” he said in his postmatch remarks. “I think we learned today how to play this way and win games, but it wasn’t the game we will remember. Definitely we have to build on top of these three points.”

Nemanja Nikolic scored the game’s lone goal in the 27th minute, taking advantage of a rare Zack Steffen miscue for his fourth goal of the season.

“I cannot be completely satisfied because the team is struggling a little bit, but it was a really important three points for us today,” Nikolic said. “It was an important game, it was not our best game since I’ve come here, but still, we fought a lot for every ball and finally we don’t concede the goals.

Schweinsteiger, utilized again as a sweeper, was named to the MLS Team of the Week presented by Audi for Week 6.

  • Suspended: None
  • Suspended after next caution: None
  • International duty: None
  • Injury Report: OUT: M - Djordje Mihailovic (right ACL surgery), F - Michael de Leeuw (left ACL surgery), D - Jorge Corrales (infection), D - Matt Polster (MCL sprain), F - Luis Solignac (left quad); QUESTIONABLE: M - Mo Adams (left elbow), D - Jonathan Campbell (facial fracture), D - Kevin Ellis (undisclosed)

Projected Starting XI
(3-4–1-2, right to left)
GK: Richard Sanchez — Johan Kappelhof, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Kevin Ellis — Drew Conner, Dax McCarty, Tony Tchani, Brandon Vincent — Diego Campos — Nemanja Nikolic, Alan Gordon

Notes: Dax McCarty had 15 recoveries in Chicago’s win last Saturday, his second game this season with 15+ recoveries. He had zero such games over the last two seasons. … Chicago is 3W-3L-3D over their last nine home games. They had won nine consecutive home games prior to this run.

LA Galaxy      

After that emotional and unlikely come-from-behind win over LAFC, the LA Galaxy (2-2-1) fell back to earth a bit following in a 2-0 loss to Sporting Kansas City Sunday at StubHub Center.

The Galaxy have now conceded five times in the last two games.

“We keep conceding kind of easy goals. It’s not just the defense you have to blame. I think we have to look as a team to see the reasons why they are counterattacking every time,” Ashley Cole said after the game. “It’s a tough loss to take today, but credit to them. They are a very good team.”

Ibrahimovic made his second appearance off the bench, playing the final 28 minutes, but the Swedish legend said he thinks he’s ready for an advanced role come Saturday.

“Let’s see. I’ve been injured for a long time. People forget when I play the first game and score two goals…you shouldn’t forget that I was out for almost one year,” Ibrahimović said. “I came back for [Manchester] United and played six or seven games. But we need to step it up day by day. We need to be intelligent.

“But I feel ready. I feel good. Next game, I’m probably there from the start. But it depends on what the coach is thinking and what he wants.”

  • Suspended: None
  • Suspended after next caution: None
  • International duty: None
  • Injury Report: F - Bradford Jamieson IV (concussion); QUESTIONABLE: F - Giovani dos Santos (hamstring), D - Michael Ciani (groin)

Projected Starting XI
(3-5-2, right to left)
GK: David Bingham — Rolf Feltscher, Jorgen Skjelvik, Ashley Cole — Romain Alessandrini, Perry Kitchen, Jonathan dos Santos — Sebastian Lletget, Emma Boateng — Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Ola Kamara

Notes:Ola Kamara finished with a career-best six chances created in Sunday’s loss to Sporting Kansas City. He had three prior games with 3+ chances created. … The Galaxy are winless in their last 11 games away from home (8L-3D). They are allowing 2.5 goals per game over this span.

All-Time Series

  • Overall: Chicago Fire 15 wins, 49 goals … LA Galaxy 20 wins, 57 goals … Ties 7
  • At Chicago: Fire 9 wins, 27 goals … LA Galaxy 9 wins, 26 goals … Ties 3
  • Last meeting at Chicago: Fire 2, LA Galaxy 2 (August 24, 2016)


Referee: Ted Unkel
Assistant Referees: Kyle Atkins, Kyle Longville
4th Official: Fotis Bazakos
VAR: David Barrie