alan gordon

After signing with the club on March 16, Chicago Fire forward Alan Gordon made his first start in a Fire shirt in Saturday’s 1-0 win over Columbus Crew SC at Toyota Park. Gordon was active in his 77-minute shift, pressing high and looking to win balls in dangerous areas for the Fire attack alongside fellow forward Nemanja Nikolic.

With that milestone behind him, Gordon is now staring down a weekend visit from the LA Galaxy -- the club where he got his start as an MLS SuperDraft pick. The 36-year-old made 164 appearances for the Galaxy in stints from 2004-10 and 2014-16, putting away 29 goals in the process.

Ahead of this weekend’s match, caught up with Gordon to discuss his life in Chicago so far, his transition into the Fire, and going up against his star-laden former club this weekend. For starters, how have you found life in Chicago so far?

Alan Gordon: “It’s been great. I’ve always loved this city. Been coming here for the last 15 years. I have some good friends out here. My love for the city is only growing. There’s a lot I haven’t seen. It’s an amazing city, that’s no surprise. My transition to the club has been close to seamless. The guys are great. I feel like I’ve fit in since day one. They’ve done a really good job of making me feel at home and I couldn’t be happier to be honest.” You’ve been with the club officially for just about a month now, but spent time with the guys during preseason as well. What’s your assessment of the talent around you, specifically in attack?

AG: “There’s a lot of talent on the squad. Niko, I’ve been really impressed with his finishing. Just seeing him from afar last year, gaining a real respect for how well he finishes. His nose for the goal is incredible. Even at my age, I’m still trying to learn. He’s a guy that I’m trying to pick up little things from. He does some things very, very well. I watch him every day while we’re all finishing and hopefully I’m pushing him in some way. He’s definitely making me better.” You got your first start in a Fire shirt on Saturday. What directives did you have going into the match and how would you assess your performance?

AG: “There was nothing specific, just go and do my thing. There’s really no surprise to my game. I’ve been around a long time. I’m not flashy in any way, and you’re not going to see anything spectacular out of me, pretty much, but I know how to get the job done. That’s my role, to step in when we need bodies. That’s why I’m on the team. We have some injuries, so it was a pleasant surprise that I got some extra minutes. I felt great out there and we got our first win, so that’s all positive. Now it’s just building a better sense for each other. I think that me and Niko really understood each other well. I know we didn’t have a lot of opportunities offensively as a team, but I think it will get better and better. We pressed well. We created some opportunities – him and I – just pressing and working hard up there. That’s something you can count on when him and I are up there, for sure.” You’ll be going up against a club you know very well when the Galaxy come to town on Saturday. It won’t be the first time you’ve faced them, but what’s it like for you playing a club you spent nearly 10 years with?

AG: “I always get hyped for LA. It’s kind of my childhood club. I always enjoy playing them, so I’m looking forward to it. They obviously have a lot of big name guys, but that’s nothing new for them. It’s always a challenge and exciting to play against the Galaxy. I’m looking forward to beating them this weekend.” Have to ask – what’s your take on Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s first few weeks in MLS?

AG: “He’s a legend. He’s amazing to watch. He does special things. It’s nice to see him pick up one of my celebrations, taking off the shirt and with the No. 9 on the Galaxy, so I even like him more because of that. He’s just somebody that brings attention to the game. You just want to watch him to see what he does. He can do things like he did two weeks ago. It’s going to be awesome for everybody to play against him. With that, you want to beat him. You want to beat the Galaxy more when they have star players. It gives you that extra drive to go and put them down.”