Even though the result was not what we wanted, Fire fans should not hang their heads. Chicago fans showed up for this one, even going through this terrible April weather to see Chicago take on the LA Galaxy.
The Fire even had to put up temporary bleachers for this one because of the hype for the match. Now part of that, of course, was because of soccer legend Zlatan Ibrahimovic making his first start for the LA Galaxy, but it was great to see the stadium buzzing through the rain, with 21,915 reportedly attending the match today.
The first half of this one was very interesting to watch, with Schweinsteiger in the backline playing in the sweeper position, it was going to be interesting to see how the LA Galaxy attack would do.
In the first half, we saw the Galaxy get after it, and put two balls in the back of the net until they were both disallowed. The first one was a very close call, but the Galaxy was called for offsides. The second one was a perfect example of why VAR should be implemented into all leagues in the world. What seemed like an own goal off of Alan Gordon, was actually an offside call after Lleget passed a ball into Kamara, and while Kamara missed and bounced in from Alan Gordon, he made a play on the ball, and with that, the goal was overturned quickly and correctly.
The Fire seemed to have been beaten in the first half, but the score was still 0-0 going into extra time, and it seemed like the Fire were going to be able to go into the locker room thinking about trying to get a winner in the second. But alas, Zlatan nailed a perfect header into the back of the net off a cross from Ashley Cole, which was not a sentence I ever expected to say in an MLS game, but here we are.
The Fire came out and made multiple defensive mistakes, and I thought that the Galaxy were about to take over and defeat the Fire badly. The Fire escaped from those mistakes, however, and it seemed like they had the momentum most of the second half. They had most of the possession in the second half, and even though it seemed like the Galaxy were trying to play defensively, the Fire were getting good chances to tie it up. The Fire could not put one in, however, and the Fire walk away from this one with a loss.
The highly anticipated match between legends and former teammates between Bastian Schweinsteiger and Zlatan Ibrahimovic has come and gone, and while the LA Galaxy came out on top, I don’t think Schweinsteiger necessarily lost this battle. In many cases, with Schweinsteiger in that sweeper position on the backline, when forced to cover Zlatan, he did a fantastic job doing it. It seemed like the Fire shut down Zlatan for most of the game, but a perfect cross and a little bit of breathing room gave the Galaxy the win.
I was very impressed with the play of Richard Sanchez, as he was not intimidated by the presence of Zlatan, and even made a couple great saves against tough challenges from him. After getting a ton of hate from the fans the first few games, he has really stepped up as our goalkeeper, allowing only one goal in the last two games.
I think the team is getting better each game. This was a very tough opponent, and they also had to deal with less than ideal weather. While a win/draw would’ve been great, the Fire are showing me more and more each week.