Chivas USA-Fire Preview
Goals are scarce but injuries are plentiful for the Chicago Fire
A potentially snowy encounter with Chivas USA could help.
The Fire must finally find the net in order to avoid the most
anemic start in team history Sunday, when they attempt to continue
their dominance of Chivas USA in the teams’ only matchup this
Chicago (0-2-1) has mustered only six shots on goal through
three games, and it’s come up empty on all of them. It’s the first
time the Fire have been shut out in the first three games of a
season since 2004, when they failed to score for a team-record 327
The last team to go goalless in its first four games was Toronto
FC in its inaugural 2007 season.
The weather may be a factor in whether they approach that mark.
The forecast calls for snow, which would make for unfamiliar
conditions for Chivas USA (1-1-1).
The Fire have outscored Chivas 17-8 while going 7-0-2 in their
last nine meetings in all competitions dating back to 2008. They
rallied for a 2-1 road win in the only matchup last season on May
Due to injuries, national team commitments and departures,
Chicago has only four players available from that day – defenders
Austin Berry and Gonzalo Segares and midfielders Logan Pause and
Pause missed the first three games with a quad injury, but he
may be back in the lineup at right back after injuries to Mike
Videira (concussion) and Steven Kinney (quad).
Depth on the back line continues to be a problem with German
veteran Arne Friedrich out again with a hamstring injury and
goalkeeper Sean Johnson with the U.S. national team for World Cup
qualifiers. Midfielder Dilly Duka also has an injured hamstring,
making him questionable.
“In the team we have depth with good players,” coach Frank
Paolo Tornaghi is expected to get the call in net for the first
time since a 2-0 loss at Colorado last April 1. The Italian
goalkeeper went 1-1-1 while stopping 14 of 17 shots last year while
Johnson was away with a youth national team.
“We have all the confidence in him,” Klopas said. “He’s played
well and we know we’re going in a situation with World Cup
qualifying and Sean being with the national team, its great for him
but we have all the confidence in Paolo in moments like this.”
Chivas USA was expected to be one of the struggling franchises
in MLS this year, but the team has been impressive over the last
two weeks. It followed a surprising 3-1 win over FC Dallas on March
10 with another unexpected result last weekend, a 1-1 draw with Los
“Everyone has that winning mentality right now,” rookie
midfielder Carlos Alvarez told the team’s official website. “We’re
coming over here to get those three points. Right now, there is no
such thing as weather, it’s for both teams.”
Alvarez scored in the 89th minute as a substitute in his MLS
debut against the Galaxy, becoming the fourth Chivas player to find