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Fire-Los Angeles FC Preview
Though it's wrong to call it a slump, Los Angeles FC has come back down to earth following a sizzling start to the club's second MLS season.
With one victory in its last three matches, LAFC looks to get back into the win column Saturday night against a visiting Chicago Fire side that's trying to somehow end their lengthy winless road stretch.
Los Angeles (7-1-2) opened the season 6-0-1 but followed with a 1-0 loss at Vancouver on April 17. It bounced back with an impressive 4-1 home triumph over Seattle on April 21, then played the Sounders to a 1-1 road draw on Sunday.
Though LAFC's recent three-game stretch hardly warrants concern, it reinforces the fact that just because Bob Bradley's side is in good overall form and has the most points in MLS, the road won't be entirely smooth.
L.A. went down 1-0 in the first minute at Seattle, but equalized three minutes later on Carlos Vela's 11th goal of the season and third in three games. However, even though Seattle played with 10 men following Cristian Roldan's red card in the 18th minute and dropped to nine after another booking in the 95th, L.A was unable to take advantage.
"It was a day when we couldn't make the plays when it mattered," Bradley told LAFC's official website. "For us, it's a bit frustrating but that's just how it works some days."
Los Angeles should feel good about a bounce back at home, where it owns a 14-4 goal advantage while winning all five games to open 2019. It also might help to receive a visit from the Fire (2-4-3), who are 0-12-4 on the road since a 2-1 win at Orlando City on May 26.
To the end that slide, Chicago must avoid being swept on a three-game road stretch that's featured 1-0 losses at New York City FC and last weekend against Montreal.
"The schedule is pretty tough, and pretty intense," defender Mo Adams told the Fire's official website.
In the latter, the Fire did a solid job of dictating play for most of the match against the Impact, until the hosts came through with the lone goal in the 83rd minute. Prior to the last two contests, Chicago scored a goal in every game.
The Fire managed a few in last season's 3-1 home victory over LAFC in the initial meeting between the sides. Nemanja Nikolic, who had a goal in three consecutive matches for Chicago before the last two games and offered at least two quality chances at Montreal, recorded a goal with and assist against L.A. in 2018.
Updated May 2, 2019