Depleted Galaxy visit slumping Chicago
The Los Angeles Galaxy have struggled to find their scoring touch, and Landon Donovan's knee injury hasn't helped.
Those offensive woes could continue Sunday with Donovan's status unknown and David Beckham, Juninho and Jovan Kirovski serving suspensions during a matchup with the Chicago Fire.
Los Angeles (2-1-3) is one of only five teams to have fewer goals (five) than games played, scoring one during Donovan's two-game absence. The forward has inflammation in his right knee, believed to have been developed during a stretch of three games - two with the U.S. national team and a 1-0 victory over Philadelphia on April 2.
With their captain back home, the Galaxy played to a 1-all draw at D.C. last Saturday and a scoreless tie at Toronto on Wednesday.
That game in Toronto might have proved costly for this week's matchup as Beckham was given his fifth yellow card of the season, drawing an automatic one-game suspension.
Juninho, who has a team-best two goals, also received a one-match ban for getting a red card during stoppage time.
The MLS suspended Kirovski on Friday for one more game after he sat out Wednesday's draw because of a red card. The midfielder was fined an additional $750 for verbal abuse of an official during the match with United.
"There are bad calls, and we've had the majority of bad calls over the last few games," Beckham told the league's official website. "It's ruining our preparation for games ... We want that consistency to be there (from the referees), and we want to keep our players on the field."
With those suspensions and Donovan potentially missing a third consecutive game, the Galaxy may need scoring help from Juan Pablo Angel or Mike Magee.
Angel has 58 goals in his previous four MLS seasons and one in five contests this season. Magee scored the lone goal against D.C. while taking Donovan's spot on the field.
Despite being extremely short-handed, Los Angeles might have some hope against a Chicago defense that has given up eight goals in the past three games. Chicago (1-2-1) suffered its second straight defeat Thursday, 4-2 in expansion Portland's first home match.
The Fire fell behind 3-0 early in the second half, but an own goal and Marco Pappa's second of the season cut the deficit to one. Chicago, though, couldn't find the equalizer and Fire defender Dasan Robinson sent a ball into his own net off a Timbers corner kick.
"It's a shame because our players made a great effort. We played much better in the second half and we need to learn off of this," coach Carlos de los Cobos said.
When Los Angeles visited Chicago last season, the Fire broke a scoreless tie in the 88th minute only to give up Omar Gonzalez's goal in stoppage time and settle for a 1-all draw.