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Played
August 1, 2010 7:30 PM EDT
Home Depot Center, Carson, Calif.
Referee:‬ Silviu Petrescu‎
 
37′ (PG) Landon Donovan
M. Pappa 4′
81′ (PG) Landon Donovan
 
Mike Banner 19′

Los Angeles Galaxy Vs Chicago Fire: Head To Head Preview

By Jonathan Vera and Isaac Heath

Landon Donovan, Chris Birchall, Juninho, Los Angeles Galaxy, MLS (Getty Images)
On Form

Los Angeles Galaxy: Well, what can one say is 'on form' about a club that got humiliated 4-1 at home by a second division team (Puerto Rico Islanders)? It's difficult, but I'm up for a challenge. LA has been doing well controlling the ball on the pitch and pushing the defense further back. The pressure they impose on the opposition has given them opportunities to take their shots. In this past week's CONCACAF Champions League match up, LA tallied 23 shots.

Chicago Fire: It is scary to think about where the Fire would be this year if it weren’t for the solid play of Wilman Conde. The Colombian international has been strong in the back for Chicago all year, and most recently scored a goal against Pumas in the Superliga. The team will continue to lean on the tall center back the rest of the year, as the Fire’s spotty goalkeeping and lack of firepower have made things difficult.

Off Target

Los Angeles: The Galaxy goalkeeping has been in a downward spiral since the beginning of July. In the first four months of the MLS season LA net-minding only allowed fours goals (including friendlies and the U.S. Open Cup), but in the one month span of July, Donovan Ricketts and Josh Saunders have allowed a combined 12 goals into their net. They are controlling the ball, creating chances, taking shots, but nothing seems to be getting on the board for them. Some veterans in the club appear at times antsy on the pitch and chuck the ball at inopportune time in hope of a miracle goal. The machine is damaged and in dire need of a tune-up.

Chicago: Andrew Dykstra has not been too strong this year. It was a dangerous move to release fan favorite Jon Busch, and Klopas seems to be paying for that decision. This week de los Cobos has been trying to decide between starting Dykstra or going with young goal keeper Sean Johnson.

Tactics

Los Angeles: Predicting coach Bruce Arena's tactics is going to be a little bit more difficult than before. With the stacked schedule, the questionable performances by veterans, and other variables, there's no telling what Arena will do. The sure thing is Edson Buddle and Tristan Bowen will be leading the way, with Landon Donovan, Michael Stephens, and Juninho in the middle. The fourth midfielder is anyone's guess. Ricketts will be at net with Todd Dunivant coming back from rest, Omar Gonzalez, Gregg Berhalter, and Sean Franklin in "D." However, that 11th person will be what breaks or makes this team.

Chicago: Given all the changes that have gone on recently, and the fact that they are playing the mighty LA Galaxy on the road, expect to see the Fire play extremely defensively. Nyarko and Pappa should once again feature as counter attack specialists, and it will also be interesting to see if and how de los Cobos uses newly acquired DP Nery Castillo.


Intangibles

Los Angeles: The Galaxy were fortunate Arena was selected as the MLS All-Star coach. The mastermind could have easily showcased his All-Star quadruplet (Donovan, Buddle, Ricketts, Omar Gonzalez), but instead opted for minimal game time or none at all. So, there should be no excuses of heavy legs in this next match. Meanwhile, Chicago is going to come into LA fully loaded, looking to take advantage of a wounded team.

Chicago: Will Nery play? That is the biggest question around the Fire camp. I believe de los Cobos will break him in easy and give him limited minutes on Sunday. However another huge question mark is if he plays, how will he help improve a lifeless attack?

Outcome

Los Angeles: The Galaxy have a lot to make up for after that sorry display Tuesday night. The event was called "a wake up call" or "rude awakening" by some in the club. So, we'll just have to see if they can bounce back. I think they will, but will still allow some goals. LA, Chicago draw at the Home Depot Center.

Chicago: LA will be too much for the Fire and take this one 3-1.

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Last Five Matches
Odds
Team News
Available Squads
1Donovan RickettsGoalkeeper
5Sean FranklinDefender
9Edson BuddleStriker
7Tristan BowenStriker
-Jovan KirovskiStriker
33Chris BirchallMidfielder
2Todd DunivantDefender
-Michael StephensMidfielder
-Gregg BerhalterDefender
4Omar GonzalezDefender
10Landon DonovanStriker
12Josh SaundersGoalkeeper
20A.J. DeLaGarzaDefender
22LeonardoDefender
-Bryan JordanStriker
88Alex CazumbaDefender
-Dema KovalenkoMidfielder
24Alan GordonStriker
-Dasan RobinsonDefender
-C.J. BrownDefender
7Krzysztof KrolDefender
15Collins JohnStriker
18Mike BannerMidfielder
4Baggio HusidicMidfielder
25Sean JohnsonGoalkeeper
2Wilman CondeDefender
12Logan PauseMidfielder
-M. PappaStriker
14Patrick NyarkoStriker
50Andrew DykstraGoalkeeper
3Kwame Watson-SiriboeDefender
19Corben BoneMidfielder
7Fredrik LjungbergMidfielder
13D. UmanzorDefender
18Steven KinneyDefender
20Brian McBrideStriker
Players to Watch
Edson Buddle
Edson Buddle
Position: Striker
Squad Number: 9
Games Goals YC RC
4 1 0 0
Wilman Conde
Wilman Conde
Position: Defender
Squad Number: 2
Games Goals YC RC
0 0 0 0
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