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MLS Match Preview | Fire prepare for first-ever meeting with expansion side LAFC

Chicago Fire vs. LAFC
2018 MLS Regular Season — Week 31

Toyota Park — Bridgeview
Sept. 29 — 3:30 pm ET
WATCH: Univision, Twitter, MLS LIVE on DAZN (Canada)


Surging LAFC can move into a tie with FC Dallas atop the Western Conference when they take on a Chicago Fire side that was just eliminated from playoff contention at Toyota Park on Saturday afternoon.

Unbeaten in their last six games, LAFC are coming off a 2-0 win over the San Jose Earthquakes, while the Fire suffered a first defeat in four games when they fell at New York City FC, 2-0, Wednesday night.

Chicago Fire

After three games without defeat, Chicago (7-16-7) lost for the first time since August 18, losing to NYCFC, 2-0, at Yankee Stadium Wednesday night, a loss that eliminated them from playoff contention.

David Villa first set up Alex Ring’s opening goal two minutes into the second half and then scored his 12th goal of the season four minutes later off a layoff from Maxi Moralez. Nemanja Nikolic appeared to pull the Fire back a goal,  but it was chalked off for offside.

“We had a decent game in the first half. We were a good opponent and we also had our opportunities,” Veljko Paunovic said. “And on the other side, the second half we didn't start as well as we wanted. We crumbled and we wanted an opportunity to perform well. Our goal today was to definitely get points here.”

  • Suspended: None
  • Suspended after next caution: M - Jorge Corrales
  • International duty: None
  • Injury Report: OUT: D - Matt Polster (MCL surgery), M/D - Diego Campos (left MCL injury), M - Mo Adams (right hamstring injury), F - Luis Solignac (right adductor injury), D - Christian Dean (right hamstring injury), D - Grant Lillard (left quad injury)

Projected Starting XI
(4-2-3-1, right to left)
GK: Stefan Cleveland — Nico Hasler, Johan Kappelhof, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Brandon Vincent — Brandt Bronico, Dax McCarty — Aleksandar Katai, Djordje Mihailovic, Michael de Leeuw

Los Angeles Football Club

LAFC (14-7-8) extended an unbeaten streak to six consecutive games with a 2-0 win over the San Jose Earthquakes Saturday at Banc of California Stadium.

Walker Zimmerman latched onto a Carlos Vela corner kick to give the hosts a lead four minutes before halftime and the duo hooked up again in the 68th minute on another corner kick for the insurance goal.

“We’re a good team,” Bob Bradley said. “I think we’re a team that is still looking to improve. I believe in the quality of our club. I think there’s a part of games late in the season that involves mentality. For me, there’s a next level of intensity that I still think we can bring.”

  • Suspended: None
  • Suspended after next caution: M - Eduard Atuesta
  • International duty: None
  • Injury Report: OUT: GK - Quillan Roberts (right fibular fracture), M - Mark-Anthony Kaye (fractured ankle), M - Aaron Kovar (left knee irritation), D - Danilo Silva (right hamstring irritation)

Projected Starting XI
(4-4-2, right to left)
GK: Tyler Miller — Steven Beitashour, Dejan Jakovic, Walker Zimmerman, Jordan Harvey — Latif Blessing, Lee Nguyen, Eduard Atuesta, Diego Rossi — Carlos Vela, Adama Diomande

All-Time Series

  • This is the first all-time meeting between the Chicago Fire and Los Angeles Football Club


Referee: Christopher Penso
Assistant Referees: CJ Morgante, Craig Lowry
4th Official: Marcos DeOliveira
VAR: Ricardo Salazar