LA Galaxy vs. Chicago Fire | 2017 MLS Match Preview
LA Galaxy vs. Chicago Fire
2017 MLS Regular Season
StubHub Center – Carson, California
Saturday, May 6 | 10:30 pm ET
WATCH: MLS LIVE
The Fire faithful have been buoyed by an overhauled midfield headlined by German star Bastian Schweinsteiger and a bona fide goalscorer in Nemanja Nikolic, there is still one glaring stat that raises some doubts about just how far the team can go: the Fire have picked up just one point in their last nine road games, being outscored 27-8 in the process.
They’ll get their chance to reverse that trend when they face the listing LA Galaxy, who are in uncharted waters after going 1-3-1 to start the season at home, leading to some serious hand-wringing among fans used to consistent success. Make no mistake: the pressure is on LA, though star forward Giovani dos Santos – who has just one goal and no assists through seven games – is confident they’ll turn it around.
“I’ve been through a lot of difficult times in my career, and this is another one. So I know what I have to do and I know what kind of player I am, and I know what kind of team we have,” dos Santos said this week. “We are the Galaxy. We have pressure every single game because we have to win and people respect us. We know our responsibility. We’re not playing well now, but we have to keep working.”
The Galaxy are desperately searching for some offense at home, and will receive a boost with the likely return of Gyasi Zardes after he missed last week’s 0-0 draw due to illness. Should Zardes crack the starting XI, the head coach Curt Onalfo and the Galaxy should have an approximation of his best front six (save for Sebastian Lletget, out for the long term) – there may not be many opportunities for the Galaxy to get their forwards back on track.
- Suspensions: None
- Int’l Duty: None
- Injury Report: OUT – D Robbie Rogers (ankle injury), M Sebastian Lletget (foot surgery), GK Clement Diop (hip injury)
Projected starting lineup (4-2-3-1): Brian Rowe – Bradley Diallo, Daniel Steres, Jelle Van Damme, Ashley Cole – Jermaine Jones, Joao Pedro – Romain Alessandrini, Giovani dos Santos, Emmanuel Boateng – Gyasi Zardes
Notes: The Galaxy have failed to score in their last two home games. This is just the second time this has happened since June 2006. … Daniel Steres had 109 touches last weekend against Philadelphia. It was 10 more than he had ever had in a single regular season MLS game (39 total appearances).
Save for a long-term injury to John Goossens, the injury gods have been fairly kind to head coach Veljko Paunovic on the Fire, who should trot out something similar to what we saw as Chicago dropped a hard-fought contest to the New York Red Bulls on Saturday.
And while the Fire will be looking to improve upon their road record and show the league they are a team to be reckoned with, the trip to LA will carry an extra special meaning for Brazilian midfielder Juninho, who won three MLS Cups with the Galaxy when he played there from 2010-2014. He spoke about the upcoming trip this week:
- Suspensions: None
- Int’l Duty: None
- Injury Report: OUT – M John Goossens (right ankle surgery); QUESTIONABLE – M Matt Polster (right hip flexor tightness), D Patrick Doody (illness)
Projected starting lineup (4-2-3-1): Jorge Bava – Michael Harrington, Johan Kappelhof, Joao Meira, Brandon Vincent – Juninho, Dax McCarty – Luis Solignac, Bastian Schweinsteiger, David Accam – Nemanja Nikolic
Notes: Bastian Schweinsteiger had a 67.3% passing accuracy against the Red Bulls last weekend. He had at least 80% passing accuracy in his first four MLS appearances.
The Galaxy hold a slight edge in this all-time series between two of the league’s most storied franchises. But the recent history in SoCal strongly favors LA, who have won three games in a row against Chicago at the StubHub Center, outscoring them 8-1 in those three contests.
- Overall: LA Galaxy 20 wins (55 goals) … Chicago 15 wins (47 goals) … Ties 6
- At LA: LA Galaxy 11 wins (29 goals) … Chicago 6 wins (20 goals) … Ties 3
Referee: Kevin Stott
Assistant Referees: Craig Lowry, Eduardo Mariscal
Fourth Official: Alex Chilowicz