The Los Angeles Galaxy beat the Chicago Fire in April despite
the absences of Landon Donovan and David Beckham.
The Galaxy are hoping both stars will be on the Home Depot
Center field for the rematch Saturday night, though goalkeeper
Donovan Ricketts will remain sidelined as his team tries to extend
an 11-game unbeaten run.
Donovan was out with an inflamed right knee and Beckham was
serving a suspension when the Galaxy won 2-1 at Chicago on April
Donovan, whose eight goals are tied for second in MLS,
admittedly wasn’t sharp when he returned Monday in a scoreless draw
with Seattle after missing four games because of the Gold Cup.
Beckham, whose seven assists are tied for second most in the
league, has a stress fracture in his spine but played 21 minutes,
his first action in three games.
Although he’s suffering from fatigue, Donovan is expected to
play Saturday while Beckham is listed as questionable.
“We’re probably better with them,” coach Bruce Arena told the
team’s website. “It’s not got to be something that happens
overnight were we get them both back and we get them playing 90
Los Angeles has an MLS-best 36 points despite enduring a number
of key absences this season. The club is now dealing with another
one, as Ricketts is out of the lineup for three to five weeks.
The 2010 MLS goalkeeper of the year had surgery for a fractured
left forearm sustained June 25.
In Ricketts’ place, the Galaxy (9-2-9) got an admirable effort
from Brian Perk in his league debut Monday as he stopped an early
penalty kick. Perk might be on the sidelines for this game, though,
with Josh Saunders eligible to return from a red-card
Whoever is in goal will try to help the Galaxy end the Fire’s
eight-game unbeaten streak, their longest since a 5-0-6 start to
the 2009 season.
Chicago (2-4-12), though, has one win in that stretch and
recorded its second straight 1-all draw last Saturday. Dominic
Oduro scored in the 26th minute against Chivas USA, but the Fire
allowed the equalizer just after halftime.
“We have to stay focused for 90 minutes,” defender Cory Gibbs
said. “We had lapses against Chivas. If we do that against a team
like the Galaxy, we’ll lose.”
The Fire’s defeat to Los Angeles in April was their third
straight. They’ve gone 1-1-11 since.
Chicago has given up three goals in seven games since Frank
Klopas took over as interim coach for the fired Carlos de los
Donovan scored twice in Los Angeles’ last home game against the
Fire on Aug. 1, but Chicago had built a 3-0 lead in the first 19
minutes and hung on for the 3-2 victory.
Los Angeles hasn’t gone unbeaten in 12 straight since a 10-0-2
start to last season.