Chivas USA-Fire Preview

Chivas USA-Fire Preview

Published Mar. 24, 2013 5:25 a.m. ET

Goals are scarce but injuries are plentiful for the Chicago Fire in 2013.

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 year.

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 minutes.


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 4.

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 Patrick Nyarko.

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 Klopas said.

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 Angeles.

"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 the net.