LAFC hoping to end frustration as Fire come to visit
Los Angeles Football Club may have lingering frustration after it failed to defeat a short-handed opponent last weekend. That could be bad news for the visiting Chicago Fire on Saturday night at Banc of California Stadium.
In its second match in as many weeks against the Seattle Sounders, LAFC (7-1-2, 23 points) failed to capitalize on a man advantage they held following Cristian Roldan’s 18th-minute red card. Seattle was down to nine men by the very end, after Kelvin Leerdam was also sent off in second-half stoppage time.
After trading very early goals, visiting LAFC dominated the contest, but failed to put a second of their 21 shots beyond goalkeeper Stefan Frei. Forward Christian Ramirez had the game’s most shocking miss, skying his sliding attempt over the crossbar from maybe two yards out in the 48th minute.
The result was an especially surprising result given LAFC’s offensive record. Its MLS-best 26 goals are still seven more than the next-best MLS club, and Carlos Vela holds the individual league lead with 11.
“Normally, our attackers, if they get one chance, they’re going to finish it,” defender Jordan Harvey said after training on Wednesday. “This game we had multiple and we weren’t able to put it away for whatever reason. But coming back to the Banc, we’re excited. It’s a place we have a ton of confidence. And we’ve scored a ton of goals.”
Meanwhile, Chicago (2-4-3, 9 points) could have a new resource at its disposal in their attempt to shut down LAFC’s attack if Francisco Calvo makes his Fire debut.
Chicago acquired the Costa Rican outside back from Minnesota United in exchange for at least $400,000 in allocation money on Friday. Calvo had been a regular through his two-plus seasons with the Loons, but was dealt shortly after reports of dressing-room drama involving the 26-year-old surfaced last month.
While he may not be 90-minutes fit after a couple weeks out of Minnesota coach Adrian Heath’s lineup, his two-way ability makes him a good candidate for a late cameo.
“He is a versatile defender with international experience in the prime of his career,” said Chicago club president Nelson Rodriguez in a statement. “He is familiar with MLS and has demonstrated a competitive mentality that should fit well with our group.”
REUTERS/Field Level Media