As part of our countdown to MLS opening weekend, we're taking a look at each Week 1 match. On Monday, we break down the storylines around the LA Galaxy-Chicago Fire match on March 2 (8 pm ET | FS1).
Here are three things to watch as the Galaxy host the Fire:
Zlatan's quest to break all the records
Obviously starting with Zlatan here.
Ibrahimovic is coming off a first season in MLS marked by 22 goals and 10 assists in just 27 appearances (2,143 minutes), en route to picking up the 2018 MLS Newcomer of the Year award. For an encore, he pledges to "break all the records" in MLS.
The 37-year-old has been up to the task in preseason under new boss Guillermo Barros Schelotto, who has switched from his preferred 4-3-3 to a 4-4-2, accommodating Ibrahimovic and Ola Kamara up front. The Galaxy will score a bunch of goals this season, often thanks to Ibrahimovic.
Fire's front six
Matt Doyle laid this out last week, but barring injuries, the Fire sneakily have one of the league's strongest front sixes.
The club are projected to start Dax McCarty and Schweinsteiger behind Aleksandar Katai, Djordje Mihailovic and Przemyslaw Frankowski, with 2017 MLS Golden Boot winner Nemanja Nikolic up top. This unit should dominate possession, create a ton of chances for Nikolic and get goals from the midfield. That should be fun!
Katai showed last season how capable he is of individual brilliance, while Mihailovic is looking to go from strength to strength: The 20-year-old punctuated his US national team debut with a goal in January.
Defensive uncertainties on both sides
Neutrals may wish to note that this matchup is shaping up as one of the highest-scoring games on the Week 1 slate. We've run through the attacking riches each side possesses when at their best, but looking further down the field on each side, there are a ton of questions.
Both the Fire and Galaxy added a center back with the potential to singlehandedly usher in positive change in the back, as Marcelo arrives in the Windy City from Sporting CP and Diego Polenta to SoCal from Nacional. But they were the only major defensive additions for each side.
The Fire lost fullbacks Matt Polster to Rangers and Brandon Vincent to retirement. The Galaxy didn't address standing concerns at fullback, either, after conceding 64 goals in 2018. Polenta and Marcelo may well make those around them better, but, a full-scale transformation on their debuts might be a bit much to ask.