The Fire resume MLS league play on Sunday by travelling to Los Angeles to take on the best team in the the league so far this season. The Galaxy are atop the standings and in command in the race for the Supporter's Shield on 40 points with an impressive 12-2-4 record. Fortunately, the Fire may be catching them at an opportune time.
Los Angeles' play has not been as impressive in recent weeks in comparison to the months of April, May, and June. Bruce Arena's side is 2-2-1 in all competitions in July and recent results have shown some vulnerability in their previously inpenetrable defense. The Galaxy have allowed 2 goals in three of their last four matches. After being bounced from the US Open Cup on July 7 in a 2-0 loss to Seattle, LA lost to New England three days later by the same 2-0 score.
The following weekend (July 18) provided a postive result after a 2-1 victory in Washington over DC United but LA faltered again four days later and was fortunate to gain a point in a 2-2 home draw against the San Jose Earthquakes. Landon Donovan scored on a rebound in the 90th minute off a rebound shot that Quakes goalkeeper Jon Busch probably could have handled. The goal kept the Galaxy from suffering their first home defeat of the season.
After the match San Jose's Bobby Convey commented that he thought the Galaxy "aren't as good as everyone thinks they are". Convey's comments may have been slightly out of place since LA did outshoot San Jose 22-7 and enjoyed a huge 10-1 corner kick advantage but the Earthquakes did manage to break through twice forcing the Galaxy to come from behind twice just to earn a result.
To make things even more inviting for the Fire, Los Angeles opens CONCACAF Champion's League play on Tuesday against the Puerto Rico Islanders at the Home Depot Center. The Fire meanwhile will have had ten days since the final SuperLiga match to regroup and recover from the numerous injuries which limited Carlos De Los Cobos' selections over the last several weeks.
While Wilman Conde and Marco Pappa will travel to Houston to play in the All Star Game on Wednesday one should consider that Landon Donovan, Edson Buddle, Donovan Ricketts, and Omar Gonzalez will participate in the match against Manchester United one day after the Champion's League opener.
The Fire definitely have a shot at a result in Los Angeles.