Last Sunday I took my friend Lindsay to her first LA Galaxy game, and it was a doozy: between Donovan’s triumphant return, his record-shattering performance, and the electrified crowd — she definitely got the best glimpse at LA’s finest club. We do these game previews every week and they can get a little staid. To liven things up, I thought I’d let Lindsay drive the conversation.
So who are they playing? And are you dragging me along again?
LA’s traveling to Chicago to square off against the Fire. You’re safe… this time.
Is Chicago any good?
The Fire aren’t exactly having a stellar season. They’re pretty far down the Eastern Conference totem pole, although they do have a few games-in-hand over the competition.
But Chicago has some strong pieces. Sean Johnson, for example, is one of the better keepers in the league (and he’s got his work cut out for him making up for Chicago’s weak back line). On the attack the Fire have a great pair in Quincy Amarikwa and Mike Magee. Magee’s one of my favorite players — he was with the Galaxy until last summer, when he finagled his way to Chicago so he could play for his hometown. But Magee’s sidelined with a calf injury, so the Fire will be leaning on Amarikwa more than ever.
Then there’s Harry Shipp. Everyone’s buzzing about the 22-year-old rookie — which is what happens when your first MLS goals are a hat trick against the New York Red Bulls. Those are still Shipp’s only tallies, but if there was ever a time for him to once again step up, it’s Sunday.
What about us?
LA’s been spotty at best this season. The Galaxy are on a bit of an upswing right now, coming off two wins in rapid succession. They’ll be hungry for another, partly because they can use the points and partly just to keep the good times rolling.
Whatever you think about Donovan missing the plane to Brazil, having him back is a huge boon for LA. It’s possible that both Bruce Arena and all the rest of us have been overthinking it this season when it comes to positioning — pairing up Donovan and Keane as strikers worked wonders against Philadelphia. I bet we see that again.
Historically the two have been very competitive, especially when playing at Chicago, where they’re dead even with nine wins each. All together LA has the advantage — they’ve taken 19 wins from the Fire, who only have 15 against LA. But here’s an interesting twist: last year LA beat Chicago 4–0, but three of those goals came from Magee (who hadn’t yet been traded).
So what you’re saying is… LA is going to win?
There’s some alternate universe, just slightly to the left of this one, where Chicago could be sitting pretty on Sunday. If Donovan was still tied up with national team duties, if Magee wasn’t injured, if Chicago’s back line were a little steadier and LA hadn’t managed two wins this week — I could see the Fire having a good shot at a win.
As is, the Galaxy should be and will be disappointed with anything less than a win.
Last question: what’s Chicago’s crest? (Lindsay is a graphic designer by trade.)
It’s a firefighter’s badge. It’s a rather cool idea, if kitschy — but it definitely could use a facelift.