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Match Storylines pres. by NovaCare: A first-ever visit to LAFC

The Fire's three-match road trip comes to a close when the Men In Red head west to take on LAFC at Banc of California Stadium this Saturday night.

Kickoff is set for 9:30 p.m. CT with coverage on ESPN+ and Univision Radio 93.5 Latino Mix. Keep an eye on these #LAFCvCHI Match Storylines powered by NovaCare as the Fire look to grab their first road win of the season:

Form Guide

The Fire (2-4-3, nine points) will wrap up their longest road stretch of the 2019 regular season with the Club’s third match of three-straight away from home come Saturday night. The Fire were upended in 1-0 defeats at NYCFC last Wednesday and at Montreal on Saturday, and will be looking to right the ship in their first-ever visit to LAFC’s Banc of California Stadium this weekend.

LAFC (7-1-2, 23 points) are off to a blistering start in league play, currently atop both the Western Conference and the MLS Supporters Shield standings with 23 points through 10 matches played. They enter the weekend coming off of a 1-1 draw on the road at the Seattle Sounders, a scoreline that saw the second-year club retain its league-leading +18 goal differential. With an in-form Carlos Vela leading the way (11 goals, five assists), LAFC are additionally 5-0-0 so far in matches played at Banc of California Stadium.

Firehouse West

The Fire will square off against the Club’s first-ever manager -- Bob Bradley -- for the second time since his return to MLS in 2018 to take the reins at LAFC. Bradley was the Fire’s fifth induction into its Ring of Fire after guiding the Club from 1998-2002 and compiling a record of 82-54-15 en route to the 1998 MLS Cup and the 1998 and 2000 U.S. Open Cup championships. LAFC are 23-10-11 so far under Bradley 10 games into their second season in MLS.

Bradley is assisted by former striker and Fire all-time leading scorer Ante Razov, who netted 76 times across 155 games played for the Men In Red from 1998-2004. Razov is also a Ring of Fire inductee, having been honored as the eighth member in 2015. In addition, LAFC general manager John Thorrington was a midfield regular for the Fire from 2005-2010, appearing 68 times across all competitions.

In The Building

As mentioned above, the Fire are set to take the field at Banc of California Stadium for the first time this weekend. In their last three MLS stadium debuts, the Men In Red are 1-1-1 dating back to 2017. The Fire were defeated 2-1 in their inaugural Audi Field match against D.C. United last October, after eliminating Atlanta United from the 2018 U.S. Open Cup in their first visit to Mercedes Benz Stadium last June. The Fire and Orlando City played to a 0-0 draw in the two clubs' first meeting at Orlando City Stadium on June 4, 2017.

#LAFCvCHI All-Time

Saturday’s match marks the second all-time meeting between the Fire and LAFC in regular season play. In the first and only match between the two sides last season, the Men in Red came away with a 3-1 win at SeatGeek Stadium on Sept. 29, 2018. Three different players scored in the win: midfielders Aleksandar Katai and Djordje Mihailović and forward Nemanja Nikolić.