Bridgeview, IL - The Chicago Fire is set or almost set for a match hosting Landon Donovan and the LA Galaxy at Toyota Park at Sunday afternoon at 3 p.m. Donovan was recently left off the US Men's National Team for the final cut as the team gets ready for their World Cup Run. He let everybody know about it with his recent scoring last week with a couple of goals in the Galaxy's 4-1 victory over the Philadelphia Union. He also set the MLS scoring record for career goals.
The Fire game plan will have to find ways of slowing down Donovan and worrying about the scoring ability of Robbie Keane too. Making a return back home will be former Fire midfielder Baggio Husidic and former Fire coach Dave Sarachan, an associate coach for the Galaxy. Chicago will also have to figure out what went wrong in its 2-0 debacle to the Crew in Columbus last weekend. The Fire came out flat in that one and had to reshuffle its line-up with five starters out. Even for the match up against the Galaxy, they will not be at full strength.
For starters, Mike Magee is not expected to play against his former team dealing with a calf strain and it looks like he might miss his second straight game. Patrick Nyarko is also dealing with a knee injury and a bone spur in his ankle. Defender Gonzalo Segares has been limited to see action also with a bone spur and hasn't reached 100 percent. While, Bakary Soumare and Lovel Palmer have seen time in training this past week and could return."We've got a tough match coming up," Chicago Fire head coach Frank Yallop said,"We want all our bodies available, if possible. Mike’s still out, Patrick’s still struggling a little bit, Bakary Soumare’s back, Alex has just started running again, so hopefully he can get himself at least in contention for maybe not Sunday, but moving forward in the next three games."
The Fire will again have to go deep in its reserves looking for players to help for this one. Steven Kinney and Grant Ward saw action last week and could get starts once again. "Steven Kinney came in and he hasn't played all season," Yallop said, "Grant Ward made his debut and he hasn't played for four months. We have to make better decisions where we don't give chances to the opposition."
Decision making for a good line up and trying to come out with a good effort back at home will be important for the Fire in this one. The club has shown its strong efforts with a win at home over Sporting KC a couple of weeks back and that could be something to see once again. It all depends who will get the nod on defense in this one. Sean Johnson will need a solid back line against a strong offensive front of the LA Galaxy.
If Soumare is healthy, he could return on the back line with Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Palmer and Greg Cochrane. But Patrick Ianni or Steven Kinney could be penciled in as starters back there. In the midfield, Harry Shipp, Jeff Larotowicz, Dilly Duka and Benji Joya should be there. Alex might come in off the bench. Up top without Magee, Quincy Amarikwa will be joined by Juan Luis Anangono.
Expectations in this match will be Chicago trying to contain the strength of the LA Galaxy. The Fire will need to get a couple of goals early on with the help of its own crowd. But if the Fire falls behind early it might be a long heated match in trying pull out a draw.