Preview: Galaxy put 11-game unbeaten run on line vs. Fire

LA host Chicago in Saturday night clash at Home Depot Center

The LA Galaxy put their league-best unbeaten streak on the line when they welcome the Chicago Fire to The Home Depot Center on FOX Soccer Night in America. The Galaxy haven’t lost in 11 league games, coming off a scoreless draw with Seattle Sounders FC on July 4. The Fire are making a return trip to The Home Depot Center after playing to a league-high 12th draw of the season in their last match, a 1-1 tie with Chivas USA.

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BROADCAST INFO
TV: FOX Soccer, FOX Deportes
RADIO: AM 1150, 1330 AM (Spanish)
LIVE AUDIO & WEBCHAT: www.lagalaxy.com/gamedaylive

HEAD-TO-HEAD

  • ALL-TIME (35 meetings): Galaxy 16 wins (0 shootout), 42 goals … Fire 15 wins (1 shootout), 43 goals … Ties 4
  • AT LA (17 meetings): Galaxy 8 wins (0 shootout), 21 goals … Fire 6 wins (1 shootout), 19 goals … Ties 3
  • A second-half goal from Omar Gonzalez gave the Galaxy a 2-1 victory against the Fire on April 17 at Toyota Park in the first meeting between the clubs.
  • The Fire have come away with victories on two of their last three visits to The Home Depot Center to take on the Galaxy, winning 3-2 in a wild affair last year, and also winning 1-0 in 2008.
  • The Fire last defeated the Galaxy on their Toyota Park home ground in 2008, a 3-1 win on Sept. 25. The Galaxy won in 2009 on their lone trip to Bridgeview; then after a draw last year, the Galaxy won this season.
  • Coaches' records: Bruce Arena v CHI: P14 W8 L4 D2 … Frank Klopas vs. LA: first game

LAST MEETING (MLS):

  • 4/17: CHI 1, LA 2 (Oduro 89 – Barrett 42; Gonzalez 72) [Recap | Highlights]
  • The Galaxy took the lead in the 42nd minute through Chad Barrett. Miguel Lopez crossed a ball in from the right, finding Barrett completely wide open at the penalty spot, and the former Fire striker calmly took a touch before slotting his shot inside the left post and past goalkeeper Jon Conway. WATCH
  • Omar Gonzalez doubled the lead for the visitors in the 72nd minute, rising above the Fire defense to head home a Lopez corner kick. WATCH
  • Dominic Oduro pulled one back with his first goal in a Fire uniform in the 89th minute, rounding Gonzalez in the box before blasting an angled shot past 'keeper Donovan Ricketts and inside the far post. WATCH
  • CHICAGO FIRE (4-4-2): Jon Conway - Jalil Anibaba, Josip Mikulic, Cory Gibbs, Gonzalo Segares - Davis Paul (Patrick Nyarko 46), Logan Pause, Michael Videira (Dominic Oduro 59), Marco Pappa - Gaston Puerari (Orr Barouch 70), Diego Chaves.
  • LA GALAXY (4-4-2): Donovan Ricketts - Frankie Hejduk (Bryan Jordan 80), Omar Gonzalez, Leonardo, Todd Dunivant - Michael Stephens, Chris Birchall, Paolo Cardozo (Sean Franklin 68), Mike Magee - Chad Barrett (Juan Pablo Angel 77), Miguel Lopez.

LA GALAXY

The LA Galaxy stretched their league unbeaten streak to 11 games with a second consecutive draw, this time a scoreless result with Seattle Sounders FC on July 4 at The Home Depot Center. The Galaxy have 36 points from 20 games on the season, leading the Western Conference.

LAST MATCH

  • Brian Perk made his MLS debut in goal and was quickly put to the test when Osvaldo Alonso’s shot on goal bounced off defender Omar Gonzalez’s arm. But Perk guessed correctly on the resulting penalty by Fredy Montero, diving to his right to parry the ball away for the first save of his league career. WATCH
  • Sounders FC goalkeeper Kasey Keller also made two saves on the night to record the shutout, both in the second half, the biggest in the 68th minute when he denied a curling shot from Juan Pablo Angel.
  • Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena made four changes to the team that reached a scoreless draw with the San Jose Earthquakes at Buck Shaw Stadium. Brian Perk started in goal for the injured Donovan Ricketts, Sean Franklin came into the back four for Gregg Berhalter, Landon Donovan started in midfield for Michael Stephens and Chad Barrett started up top for Miguel Lopez.
  • LA GALAXY (4-4-2): Brian Perk - Sean Franklin, Omar Gonzalez (Bryan Jordan 79), A.J. DeLaGarza (Gregg Berhalter 24), Todd Dunivant - Landon Donovan, Juninho, Chris Birchall, Mike Magee (David Beckham 69) - Juan Pablo Angel, Chad Barrett.

TEAM NEWS

  • The Galaxy extended their undefeated streak to 11 games (5-0-6), longest in MLS this season and the fifth longest in club history, despite being shut out in back-to-back games for the first time in 2011.
  • RECAP: Perk shines in debut, Galaxy draw Sounders
  • “It was a weird game. It’s not often that you start a game with one of your DPs on the bench, your third-string goalie and within a half-hour you have to take off one of your center backs,” Landon Donovan said.
  • READ: Despite strange setbacks, Galaxy's streak rolls on
  • Goalkeeper Brian Perk, making his MLS debut, became just the second goalkeeper in league history to record the first save of his career on a penalty (also: Matt Napoleon, of Miami, vs. KC’s Paul Rideout, Aug. 23, 1998).
  • READ: Perk's denial of Montero PK wins MLS Save of the Week
  • “It’s nice to know he can play. We have three great goalkeepers. … We didn’t throw a player into the game that’s going to run around like his head is chopped off. I think the game he got last week in Open Cup was good for him and obviously, playing tonight at home makes it a little easier for him,” said Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena. “All I can say he’s a ‘keeper we can put in there and be successful.”
  • After AJ DeLaGarza was forced to leave the game in the 24th minute when he was caught in the face with a high boot, his partner in central defense, Omar Gonzalez, was also forced to leave the game, suffering a left hip pointer. He was replaced by Bryan Jordan with Sean Franklin moving to central defense and Jordan playing right back.
  • “The first change to AJ [DeLaGarza] was going to have us hampered in the second half. The issue with Omar [Gonzalez], that was difficult,” Arena said. “... I think the adjustments our team made losing two center backs was pretty good.”
  • Both DeLaGarza and Gonzalez are listed as questionable on the team’s injury report. “We’re really prepared for that,” Arena said. “I think we’re prepared with five players. We have four center backs with Omar, AJ, Gregg and Sean. We’ve done that starting in preseason out. Bryan Jordan has had some time in that position as well.”
  • READ: Injuries continue to test Galaxy’s defensive depth
  • They are just the latest in a number of injuries to center backs. Berhalter suffered a knee injury in preseason, able to make his regular-season debut only on June 18. Leonardo started the season at center back, but tore ligaments in his knee in the seventh game of the season and was lost for the year. Rookie Sean Alvarado also suffered a season-ending knee injury.
  • “It’s strange, but to look at our position in our league, having that many injuries, we’re fortunate,” Berhalter said. “We’re second in goals-against average in the league … so we’re doing some things right. That’s why you train, that’s why you have depth and you work on things. When you’re working on things, it’s not just for the first group, but for everyone so they can see how it’s done.”
  • David Beckham was able to come on as a substitute after missing two matches despite having a stress fracture in his back.
  • “I’ve been out for three weeks; haven’t been able to do anything for three weeks. So, it’s good to be able to be back out there again, of course. Obviously I’ve got a week until the next game so it’s going to be a good week,” Beckham said. “ … I didn’t expect to play in this game. I’ve had an epidural and a cortisone injection last week and seemed to react well and took the pain away. Obviously the fracture is still there, but the pain’s died down a bit.”

INJURY REPORT: OUT: DF Sean Alvarado (R knee surgery); DF Leonardo (R knee surgery); GK Donovan Ricketts (L ulna fracture); QUESTIONABLE: MF David Beckham (back spasms); DF Frankie Hejduk (R ankle inflammation); DF Omar Gonzalez (L hip pointer); DF A.J. DeLaGarza (head/face trauma)

INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none

SUSPENDED: none

WARNINGS: SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: David Beckham | SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: Juninho


CHICAGO FIRE

The Chicago Fire once again played to a draw, this time a 1-1 result with Chivas USA on Saturday evening at The Home Depot Center. The Fire have 18 points from 18 matches on the year, sitting in a tie for seventh place in the Eastern Conference.

LAST MATCH

  • The Fire opened the scoring in the 26th minute. Patrick Nyarko laid a ball in behind the Chivas USA back line for Dominic Oduro and he simply raced away down the left, clipping the ball past goalkeeper Dan Kennedy from a difficult angle after a 50-yard run. WATCH
  • But seconds into the second half Chivas USA found their equalizer when Nick LaBrocca turned at the edge of the area and fired a shot that dipped under the crossbar and beat Chicago goalkeeper Sean Johnson. WATCH
  • Fire interim head coach Frank Klopas made two changes to the team that played to a 1-1 tie with the New York Red Bulls at Toyota Park. Logan Pause and Diego Chaves came back into the team, for Daniel Paladini and Orr Barouch.
  • CHICAGO FIRE (4-1-4-1): Sean Johnson - Jalil Anibaba, Cory Gibbs, Yamith Cuesta (Josip Mikulic 62), Gonzalo Segares - Logan Pause - Marco Pappa (Cristian Nazarit 64), Baggio Husidic, Diego Chaves (Orr Barouch 74), Dominic Oduro - Patrick Nyarko,

TEAM NEWS

  • The Chicago Fire played to a 12th tie this season in their 1-1 result at Chivas USA, now just two away from the single-season MLS record, set by FC Dallas last season.
  • “We’re really frustrated right now,” Dominic Oduro said. “I think we are doing so well defensively and offensively and right now we just want to win games. ... We’re not losing, but a win would be really nice.”
  • Since losing three games in a row from April 9-17, the Fire have lost just once in 13 games. However, they’ve also won just once in that time.
  • We’re happy that we haven’t lost in the past eight games, but it’s bittersweet, since we’ve only won once [in those eight],” goalkeeper Sean Johnson said. “It’s important at this point of the season to pick up points when the opportunity is there, and I think we’ve had opportunities in the last few games where we could have picked up three points, and we’re disappointed to come away short.”
  • Dominic Oduro tallied his fifth goal of the season, tying him with Marco Pappa for the team lead. Oduro was obtained from the Houston Dynamo after the start of the season.
  • “I want to say that I’m really disappointed in myself,” Oduro said. “I created a lot of chances and I probably could’ve done more in terms of putting balls in the back of the net.”
  • With the 12 ties, the Fire have tied the club record for draws in a season, set in 2009. The Fire have not lost a match under interim head coach Frank Klopas.
  • “It’s a work in progress. I think you can see certain things that have gotten better, but you need to still keep working in the final third, getting opportunities. It’s easy to say, but [we have to] finish more of the chances we get. We make it hard on ourselves sometimes. We need more focus to start the second half,” Klopas said. “But look, we limit opposing teams to one goal, and with the chances we had, we have to be able to put some of those away and get three points.”
  • Logan Pause returned to the Fire lineup after missing the last two matches with a concussion.

INJURY REPORT: OUT: MF Mike Banner (L Achilles tendinitis); DF Steven Kinney (R Achilles tendinitis); MF Marko Maric (L deltoid sprain)

INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: nnone

SUSPENDED: none

WARNINGS: SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: Cory Gibbs, Gonzalo Segares | SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: Diego Chaves, Dominic Oduro

REFEREE: David Gantar. SAR (bench): Anthony Vasoli; JAR (opposite): Philippe Briere; 4th: Tyler Ploeger
MLS Career: 5 games; FC/gm: 24.8; Y/gm: 3.6; R: 1; pens: 0