TV: Prime Ticket, Telefutura
Bridgeview, IL -- The Los Angeles Galaxy (13-5-4, 43 pts.) head to Chicago this weekend to face Chicago Fire S.C. (6-7-6, 24 pts.) hoping to put more distance between them and Supporters Shield candidate Columbus before the Crew come into Home Depot Center next week.
The all time series between the two teams is tied at 15 wins a piece, with three ties. Chicago leads the all-time series at home 9-7, and won 3-2 when the two teams met at Home Depot Center earlier this year.
Chicago will be without leading goal scorer Marco Pappa, as he is out on international duty with Guatemala. Freddie Ljungberg is listed as questionable for the game with a left calcaneal contusion (a left heel bruise), but will sit out the game regardless as he's serving a suspension through Sept. 5th for accumulating cautions. Chris Birchall of the Galaxy will also be serving a suspension on Saturday, while Gregg Berhalter is still listed as questionable with viral complications.
When these two teams met at Home Depot Center earlier this year, it was Marco Pappa who found the back of the net in the 4' putting the Fire on top right away. Pappa also played a role in the third goal, Rickets saved Pappa's stike but was unable to cover the rebound, and Mike Banner slammed it home. Both Galaxy goals that game were scored by Landon Donovan, on penalty kicks.
Both teams are coming into the game riding two game losing streaks, Chicago falling 2-1 at Seattle last week while the Galaxy fell 2-0 at home to Kansas City.
"We’re struggling," Landon Donovan said. "We’ve gotten away from what we’re good at. Part of it has to do with being at the top of the table and relaxing a little bit. We put a lot into the first half of the season to get where we we’re at."
Since July 10th, the Galaxy are 2-4-1 in league play, allowing 11 goals, despite only giving up four goals to that point. Furthermore, in the last five games, the Galaxy have given up six goals in the opening quarter hour of the match, the highest such figure in MLS. They had gone the first seventeen league games without allowing a goal in those same 15 minutes.
"It’s a wake-up call for us," said defender Todd Dunivant. "We have to pick it back up. It’s been a good couple of months now where it’s really been a slump. The fact that we are still in first place is a testament of how good our start was."
Of course, as discussed earlier this week, the Galaxy are undefeated when scoring the first goal, and winless when conceding it.
The Galaxy won for the first time in Bridgeview last year, after five previous meetings, en route to sweeping the season series. Five of the last seven meetings between these two teams have ended in shutouts.