Where: Banc of California Stadium, Los Angeles, Calif.
When: Saturday, May 4, 7:30 pm PT
How to Watch: YouTube TV, KVMD in Los Angeles viewing region; ESPN+ in the rest of the United States.
Los Angeles Football Club look to turn the page after a solid-if-frustrating draw at Seattle by welcoming the Chicago Fire to The Banc for the first time. The Fire won the only meeting so far between the teams, 3-1 in Illinois last year, and LAFC will look to get a measure of revenge for that previous loss, as it came as quite the shock with the Fire struggling.
It may not be quite accurate to say the Fire are bad so far this year, but they certainly haven’t been great, posting a 2-4-3 record to date in league play. The coach, Veljko Paunovic remains the same and most of the players are the same, too, but they did bring in a big-name player in Nicolas Gaitan who is slowly rounding into some form. While the Fire lost two games 1-0 last week, Gaitan has had a few nifty assists so LAFC need to be wary of what he can do.
Aside from that, Chicago have defeated the New York Red Bulls and the Colorado Rapids this season. The Rapids have been bad and just fired their head coach, while the Red Bulls have been uncharacteristically poor so far, and it’s unclear yet if they are just in a temporary slump or if they are truly not good this season.
On paper, LAFC have played far better than the Fire, and are clear favorites for this game. But the first meeting between these teams showed that results don’t come from paper, they come from playing on the field. LAFC should beat the Fire and maintain their advantage atop the Supporters’ Shield standings, but this is MLS, and you never know until they get out there to play the game.
Prediction: LAFC 2, Fire 0. I think this one will look a lot like the FC Cincinnati win — tighter than expected but LAFC gets the victory in the end. We will see!
What do you think? Leave a comment below!