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LAFC vs. Chicago Fire: Three Questions

Checking in with a team that had LAFC’s number in 2018.

MLS: Chicago Fire at New York City FC
Sapong has been a key addition for the Fire.
Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Los Angeles Football Club return home to The Banc to welcome a team that has never been to the stadium before, in the Chicago Fire. Of course, the Fire stunned LAFC last season in Illinois, so they’ve shown their capable of beating the black-and-gold. It’s a new season and things change, so we checked in with Bridget Gordon of SB Nation’s Fire site Hot Time in Old Town to see how things are going in Chicagoland. Many thanks to Bridget for taking the time to answer my questions!

Angels on Parade asked Hot Time in Old Town:

1. From the outside, it seems like the Fire have had an up and down start to this season. How’s it been going so far?

Not great, Bob! We managed a short unbeaten run but still left too many points on the table. We lost the first two games on this three-game road trip, and I suspect Saturday will go roughly the same way.

On paper the squad is pretty decent, and we likely have one of the better attacking lines in the Eastern Conference. But they just haven’t been able to deliver, other from CJ Sapong having an unexpectedly strong start. This is a recurring problem with the Fire but this year, with this squad, it feels especially galling.

2. Last year, the Fire beat LAFC handily, a result that seemed like a surprise and led to the best episode in the LAFC documentary. Do you think the Fire match up particularly well against LAFC, or haha, this is MLS, who can predict anything?

It’s definitely more of the latter, LOL MLS thing. LAFC are just a better team, and I absolutely chalk our win last year to dumb luck. I don’t think we’ll be able to replicate that this weekend. Not on the road, certainly.

3. Who’s been the standout for Chicago this season, and why?

Weirdly enough? CJ Sapong. He was brought in as sort of a back-up striker or someone to sub on in the second half to give the attack a late jolt. Basically a less problematic Alan Gordon. But SOMEHOW he’s our leading goalscorer? At four goals so far this season, he’s out ahead of both our DP attackers, Nemanja Nikolic and Aleksandar Katai. So he’s definitely a bit of a surprise so far. It helps that he’s also a genuinely decent guy. He’s earned some new fans here, for sure.

Honorable mention to Johan Kappelhof. Our defense isn’t great, but it’d be a lot worse without him.

4. (Bonus) Prediction for Saturday’s game?

Ugh. 3-1 LAFC. It’s going to hurt.

You can find my answers to Bridget’s questions over at Hot Time in Old Town.

What do you think? Leave a comment below!